travel
Europ Assistance that traveller confidence will return in 2021 [Unsplash]

Confidence to travel internationally set to return in 2021

Paris: Europ Assistance, part of insurance firm Generali Group, has announced the latest findings from its Future of Travel survey conducted by Ipsos, which indicates that while travellers are likely to stay close to home this summer, their confidence to travel internationally will return in 2021.

The survey collated the responses of 11,000 travellers across 11 countries around the world between 5-6 June.

While Covid-19 has had a major impact on the travel, the overwhelming majority [81 per cent] of those surveyed indicated they would be interested in taking a trip in 2020, however, only 35 per cent of respondents from the 11 countries claimed to have already booked for the months of July and August or to be planning to do so.

This is likely only a short-term trend as most of those surveyed also indicated they would be more confident in booking a trip later in the year. Furthermore, many of the travellers indicated they will return to their pre-Covid travel preferences such as flying and staying in large hotels by early next year.

The key findings from this year’s Future of Travel Survey are highlighted below:

Planned travel in 2020: The survey asked travellers across the globe to report their thoughts on travel for this summer and moving forward into the autumn and winter. The findings show that Covid-19 has not stopped travellers, but caused short-term changes in their trip preferences, with most preferring trips that are closer to home this year.

  • 81 per cent of all respondents said they planned to take a trip with respondents in Italy [89 per cent], France [87 per cent] and Thailand [85 per cent] leading the other countries when it comes to planned travel in 2020.
  • The average budget among global respondents is €1,506 with 36 per cent indicating they will be taking a relaxing week-long vacation at a beach destination [34 per cent of global respondents] for their post-lockdown trip this summer.
  • 74 per cent of global respondents indicated they will be travelling by car [either rented or personal] to their summer destination.
  • 33 per cent of global respondents are choosing to stay in private rentals and 19 per cent in small hotels, most likely in an attempt to maintain social distancing and avoid large crowds.

Covid concerns and risk mitigation: Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 is the main fear for all travellers surveyed. However, Europ Assistance asked respondents their thoughts on what risk mitigation measures they plan to take themselves, and what Covid-19 concerns need to be addressed before they begin travelling.

  • Travellers indicated that an epidemic occurring when travelling [36 per cent], not being able to engage in their usual trip activities and sightseeing due to Covid [28 per cent] and being quarantined abroad [27 per cent] are the three key concerns.
  • A drop in infection rates [54 per cent], an official government advisory [25 per cent] and the reopening of hotels, bars and restaurants [25 per cent] were the three leading factors that would reassure travellers.
  • The top risk mitigation behaviours travellers would engage in this year are avoid travelling to certain countries [79 per cent], avoid crowded places [77 per cent] and plan to stay within their own country [76 per cent].

Mode of transportation comparisons: While the majority of global travellers are opting to take their car this summer, travel by plane is still the second choice for global travellers.

  • 74 per cent, the overwhelming majority of global travellers indicated they would be taking a car [rented or their own] to their summer post-lockdown getaway. The number of travellers who indicated they would take a car to their trip in the autumn [58 per cent] decreased significantly and continued to drop when travellers were asked what their preferred mode of transport would be in the winter [56 per cent] and in 2021 [51 per cent].
  • 20 per cent of all global travellers said they would take a plane this summer. However the number of respondents who said they would take in plane in the autumn increased by 13 points [33 per cent] and continued to increase when asked what mode of transport they would take in the winter [37 per cent] with more than double saying they would travel via plane for their main trip in 2021 [44 per cent].
  • 13 per cent of global travellers said they would take the train this summer. Train travel remained relatively flat as a choice among travellers for the autumn [16 per cent], winter [17 per cent] with only a four per cent increase in traveller preference by 2021 [17 per cent].

Destination comparisons: Most travellers indicated that they will be travelling locally this summer, but they are eager to travel internationally in 2021.

  • 60 per cent of travellers surveyed said they planned to travel domestically this summer. While it stayed around this level when asked about travel in the autumn [52 per cent] and winter [54 per cent], it dropped by almost half [39 per cent] when travellers talked about their main trip in 2021.
  • Six per cent of those surveyed indicated they will take a trip outside their mainland [Europe for the Europeans, Asia for the Asians, America for the Americans respectively] this summer. However, the number of respondents doubled when asked about their travel plans this coming autumn [14 per cent] and winter [14 per cent], and by 2021, 19 per cent of global travellers indicated they will take a trip abroad.

Trip protection: In the wake of the current pandemic, it is no surprise that most travellers are concerned about getting protection for their next trip.

  • Prior to Covid, only 48 per cent of the travellers surveyed indicated they were covered by travel insurance. However, 54 per cent of global travellers indicated they would purchase travel insurance for their future trips.
  • 66 per cent are willing to pay for repatriation if their trip destination closes their borders or imposes a lockdown.
  • 63 per cent want to be covered for trip extension.
  • 62 per cent want to have support for the 14 days after they return if they become sick on their trip.

Francine Abgrall, head of travel at Europ Assistance Group, said: “Our annual holiday barometer, which would have had its twenty-year anniversary this year, was a way for us to share the latest travel preferences held by travellers around the globe. This is why this year we worked with Ipsos on a survey that looks at the future of travel to see how much those preferences have changed or remained same.

“While many preferences were in line with current sentiments on social distancing [smaller accommodations] and the avoidance of crowds [minimal use of public transport], we noticed that respondents indicated they would be comfortable going back to their pre-Covid travel preferences when asked about their travel plans for 2021. Though there is still a lot of uncertainty, the results of the survey were positive with more than half of the respondents indicating they would be taking a holiday in 2020 signalling a strong rebound for the industry in the medium and long term,” she added.

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