Two-thirds of outbound travelers worldwide intend to travel abroad again this year, according to the latest World Travel Monitor findings of IPK International on global travel trends in the year of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and on travel intentions in 2021. IPK International is one of the world’s leading tourism consultancies and specializes in tourism research, marketing and planning.
Released during the ITB Berlin NOW virtual expo, the latest survey results give hope for the upcoming year, despite the drastic global decline in 2020. One of the worst-hit sectors in the year of the pandemic, tourism saw outbound travel last year decline by 70 percent.
“The losses varied depending on continent and travel segment. Thus, nature-oriented holiday types and trips by car performed significantly better during the pandemic than air travel or city breaks and round trips,” IPK International said.
Travel and holiday plans for 2021
According to the results of IPK’s global survey from January of this year, 62 percent of international travelers worldwide intend to travel abroad this year.
When asked about outbound travel plans this year, respondents focus on holiday travel. Compared with pre-pandemic travel, there is above-average interest in visiting friends and family. Interest in business travel is higher among Americans and Asians than among Europeans.
In terms of holiday trips abroad in 2021, there is a high level of interest in sun & beach holidays. City breaks rank second among holiday types (first among Asians) and nature-oriented holidays comes third, a considerable rise in popularity compared to before the pandemic.
Trend toward destinations within the own continent
Asked about preferred outbound travel destinations for 2021, Europeans clearly favor destinations in Europe with Spain ranking first, followed by Italy. Among Americans and Asians, trips on their own continent are also the main choice.
Opportunities for a rapid recovery
According to IPK International, the chances for a rapid global recovery of the international tourism industry are very good. Worldwide, there is a strong desire to travel, as evidenced by the travel intentions for 2021. With vaccines now increasingly available, the main reason for not wanting to travel (infection risk) is being nullified. Moreover, the survey found high willingness among outbound travelers (90 percent) to be vaccinated.
“Assuming high percentages of the population are vaccinated quickly around the world, this will contribute to a rapid and comprehensive recovery of global demand for outbound travel. This goal could be reached in 2022, at latest 2023,” said IPK.
The survey also found that the Covid-19 pandemic has not led to travel being cheaper. “Although the average amount spent per trip has indeed fallen worldwide by 14 percent, this is due mainly to the decline in air travel and long-haul trips.”
The World Travel Monitor compiled by IPK International represents the most comprehensive survey worldwide on outbound travel trends in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America. The survey’s results are based on information from more than 60 countries and takes over 90 percent of the global demand for outbound travel into account.