Travelers are showing confidence in a return to air travel in the post-Covid-19 era but are frustrated with current travel restrictions with 84% saying they will not travel if it involves quarantine at destination, according to the latest poll by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The poll also revealed that travelers accept the idea of a travel app to manage health credentials for travel.
“People want to get back to travel, but quarantine is the showstopper. As testing capacity and technology improves and the vaccinated population grows, the conditions for removing quarantine measures are being created,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, underlining the importance of working with governments for a well-planned re-opening as soon as conditions allow.
The results of IATA’s latest poll of recent travelers follows a total of 4,700 interviews that were conducted online in 11 markets between February 15 and 23.
– 88% believe that when opening borders, the right balance must be struck between managing COVID-19 risks and getting the economy going again
– 85% believe that governments should set COVID-19 targets (such as testing capacity or vaccine distribution) to re-open borders
– 84% believe that COVID-19 will not disappear, and we need to manage its risks while living and traveling normally
– 68% agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions
– 49% believe that air travel restrictions have gone too far
According to IATA, while there is public support for travel restrictions, it is becoming clear that people are feeling more comfortable with managing the risks of COVID-19.
People are also feeling frustrated with the loss of freedom to travel, with 68% of respondents indicating their quality of life is suffering as a result. Travel restrictions come with health, social and economic consequences. Nearly 40% of respondents reported mental stress and missing an important human moment as a result of travel restrictions. And over a third have said that restrictions prevent them from doing business normally.
Future Travel Trends
– 57% expect to be traveling within two months of the pandemic being contained (improved from 49% in September 2020)
– 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (improved from 63% in September 2020)
– 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated
– 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020)
– 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilizes (improved from 65% in September 2020)
Survey responses revealed that people are becoming more confident to travel. Those expecting to travel within a few months of “COVID-19 containment” now account for 57% of survey respondents (improved from 49% in September 2020).
“This is supported by vaccine rollout which indicates that 81% of people will be more likely to travel once vaccinated. And 72% of respondents want to travel as soon as possible after COVID-19 is contained to see friends and family,” IATA said.
The poll found some headwinds in travel trends. There are still indications that the pick-up in business travel will take time with 62% of respondents saying they are likely to travel less for business even after the virus is contained. That is, however, a significant improvement from the 72% recorded in September 2020.
IATA Travel Pass
– 89% of respondents believe that governments need to standardize vaccine and testing certificates
– 80% are encouraged by the prospect of the IATA Travel Pass App and would use it as soon as available
– 78% will only use a travel credential app if they have full control over their data
Travel health credentials are already opening borders to some countries. IATA believes that such a system needs global standards and the highest level of data security.
The survey produced very encouraging data indicating traveler willingness to use a secure mobile phone app to manage their travel health credentials. Four of five people surveyed would like to use this technology as soon as it becomes available. They also expect that travel health credentials (vaccine or test certificates) must comply with global standards—a work that is still in progress by governments.
Survey respondents also sent a clear message on the importance of data security. Some 78% of travelers will not use an app if they are not in full control of their data. And about 60% will not use a travel credential app if data is stored centrally.
The poll’s sample size was 500 in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, India and Australia. In Chile, Japan, UAE and Singapore the sample size was 300. Respondents qualified for IATA’s survey if they had taken a plane trip in the past 11 months.
IATA represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.