Americans and Canadians are eager to travel again, with the majority already planning to take a holiday in 2021, according to a study released by Travel Leaders Group and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Conducted in September on some 3,000 frequent travelers, 99 percent of Americans and Canadians said they were ready to holiday again, with 70 percent stating they plan to go on vacation in 2021.
Nearly half (45 percent) said they had already made plans or are starting to make plans for their next trip, 54 percent said they are looking forward to traveling soon, 23 percent said they plan to travel by the end of 2020, while 18 percent said they will head off again in 2022.
A majority of those polled said health and safety measures at airports, onboard aircraft and at resorts will affect their decision to travel in the future. Besides mandatory masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning, temperature checks and access to sanitizing gel, contact-free services and customizable room cleaning were also cited for resort stays.
Nearly 60 percent said the requirement of a negative PCR test prior to arrival in a destination would make no difference or would be viewed as a positive, while about 40 percent said such a requirement would be a deterrent.
Leisure travelers expected to lead sector’s recovery
Commenting on the findings, travel and tourism analysts expect leisure travelers to lead the sector’s recovery but are stressing at the same time that stakeholders must take actions that will facilitate safe and seamless travel in order to get the market going. At the same time, booking with a travel advisor will ensure travelers know what to expect in Covid-19 times.
“They can provide all the facts you need to know about destinations, requirements, how to protect your purchase, and best of all, they provide peace of mind,” said Stephen McGillivray, CMO Travel Leaders Group.
The risk of infection when traveling on a plane or cruise ship was the top concern for more than half of survey respondents, as was getting stuck while away from home or being quarantined on a cruise ship or at a hotel.
Other “lesser” concerns included a family member contracting the virus while traveling, getting a refund if the trip is canceled, and family members with higher risk health conditions.
“Consumer uncertainty about the risk of exposure or concerns about being quarantined is a core problem,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO. “With rapid testing to replace quarantine requirements, enhanced contact tracing and industry-wide standards by sector that can be clearly communicated to the public, we can help alleviate many of those concerns.”
In terms of modes of travel, 47 percent said they plan to fly to their next holiday destination, 21 percent will drive, 17 percent said they plan to take a cruise, with 5 percent a river cruise.
As far as destinations are concerned, the majority is interested in domestic travel, beach destinations and less crowded destinations. Abroad, Europe is at the top of their list (38 percent), followed by the Caribbean (34 percent) and Mexico (15 percent).
“These are really strong numbers. The fact that 99 percent of travelers surveyed said they are planning a trip or looking forward to the time they can travel again indicates that as concerns about Covid-19 are addressed, leisure travelers will lead the recovery,” said John Lovell, Travel Leaders Group president.
Referring to stringent industry actions and protocols, Lovell underlined the importance of now “sharing that story with the traveling public”.