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Urban Indians plan to travel but worry about health risks: YouGov’s new report on travel

YouGov’sInternational Travel and Tourism Report 2021′ sheds light on the travel plans, considerations, and motivations of people from 25 countries.

Covid-19 has put the world on pause and the travel industry has been the most impacted by it along with hospitality. As nations closed their borders and people became afraid to step out of their homes, the global travel industry was severely affected. Now even as we start to emerge from the pandemic, and travel and tourism begin to creep back on people’s agenda, we are still a far way from a normal world.

A recent report called International Travel and Tourism Report 2021 – The road back to normality by YouGov throws light on the travel plans, considerations, and motivations of consumers from 25 countries. The report that surveyed 185,000 respondents found that about half the people plan to travel for a domestic holiday in the next 12 months, as of May 2021.

As far as Indians are concerned, 46 per cent of urban Indians intend to undertake domestic leisure travel over the next year but they worry about health risks. A whopping 49 per cent said that health risk is the biggest barrier preventing them from travelling. While 47 per cent were concerned with safety, 36 per cent urban Indians think travel restrictions are the biggest barrier. Loss of jobs and the economy doing poorly may have led almost one-third (29 per cent) to be concerned about the cost of travel. Indians desire to travel has fallen since March at the onset of the deadly second wave, and further declined in April with the enforcement of subsequent lockdowns and state-wise restrictions.

Their demand for international travel has remained consistent, but it is lower than domestic trips.

While India continued to battle the second-wave of Covid whilst preparing for a possible third-wave, the progression of vaccine programmes in other parts of the world uplifted the underlying demand for travel.  In May 2021, domestic travel sentiment was the highest in European markets such as Italy, Spain, France and Denmark, as well as Asian countries like Indonesia and Thailand.

On the other hand, appetite for international holidays appears lower than domestic trips, and less than a fifth of consumers (18%) globally are planning an international vacation over the next year. The United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stand out as exceptions, with respondents planning to travel substantially more than consumers in other countries.

While there is hope for leisure travel, business travel will take a much longer time to recover. As per the data only 14 percent respondents in the APAC region and 18 percent in the MEA region are likely to travel for business both domestically and internationally. This is still better than respondents in Europe and North America where only 6 percent and 11 percent respectively said they wanted to travel for business.

When asked about the major factors preventing people from travelling, health risks emerged as the primary barrier to travel among global respondents, followed by travel restrictions (48% and 35% respectively). An increase in the cost of travel is also a hindrance for 32 per cent of the global respondents.  

Health risk is a bigger concern in Asian countries, especially Malaysia (62%), Singapore (59%), Thailand (52%) and India (49%), while travel restrictions remain a primary obstacle for consumers in the European markets, namely the UK (62% said so in May), Germany (59%) and Norway (51%).

Speaking about the whitepaper, Eva Stewart, Global Sector Head of Travel & Tourism at YouGov, said, “As the world begins to reopen to tourism, YouGov’s “International Travel & Tourism Report 2021: The road back to normality” is a vital resource to industry insiders looking to understand traveller expectations in the current climate. It draws upon data from YouGov’s Destination Index and Global Travel Profiles tools which are designed to give an always-on view of people’s changing attitudes to travel.

“As we move into a post-COVID world, it is clear that many people are broadening their horizons and want to travel – both domestically or internationally. However, the picture is a nuanced one both between countries and within markets. It is crucial that the industry has a clear view of who is looking to travel and where they want to go so they can cater to these consumers as effectively as possible.”

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