The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced results from its latest poll of recent travellers, showing growing confidence in a return to air travel, frustration with current travel restrictions and acceptance of a travel app to manage health credentials for travel.
While 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 (like testing capacity or vaccine distribution) to re-open borders.
About 84% believe that Covid-19 will not disappear and there is need to manage its risks while living and travelling normally, 68% agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions. Nearly 49% believe that air travel restrictions have gone too far.
A total of 4,700 interviews were conducted online in 11 markets between 15-23 February. The sample size was 500 in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, India and Australia. In Chile, Japan, UAE and Singapore the sample size was 300. The poll showed 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 per cent 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.
“The top priority of everybody at the moment is staying safe amid the Covid-19 crisis. But it is important that we map a way to being able to re-open borders, manage risks and enable people to get on with their lives,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA.
“That includes the freedom to travel. It is becoming clear that we will need to learn to live and travel in a world that has Covid-19. Given the health, social and economic costs of travel restrictions, airlines should be ready to re-connect the world as soon as governments are able to re-open borders.”
The poll showed that 57% expect to be travelling within two months of the pandemic being contained (improved from 49% in September 2020). About 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (improved from 63% in September 2020).
Nearly 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated and 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020). About 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilises (improved from 65% in September 2020).
There are some headwinds in travel trends. About 84% of travellers will not travel if it involves quarantine at destination. And 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.