The impact COVID-19 has had on our daily lives has made the past year one of the hardest we’ve had to endure. Maintaining distance and staying home has become the new normal. While tough days may still be ahead, new research reveals that our appetite to explore the world remains.
With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, leading digital travel platform Booking.com reveals insights from more than 28,000 travellers across 28 countries and territories* which shows that after months of restrictions, UK travellers have increasing confidence in travel and as it becomes safe to travel again, uncovers attitudes towards the vaccine rollout, the types of trips Brits are wanting to take and just how much of a priority travel will be post-pandemic.
Vaccine Rollout Fuelling Travel Optimism
Despite knowing that the pandemic finish line hasn’t been reached just yet, in light of the vaccine rollout in the UK,over two thirds of Brits (68%) feel more hopeful about travelling in 2021. About the same amount state (64%) that not being able to travel extensively in 2020 has made them yearn for travel even more in 2021.
Brits’ trust in vaccines in fact runs very deep, with 64% confirming they won’t travel internationally until they have been vaccinated, which rises to 76% among those 55+ years old, while 56% will only travel to countries that have implemented vaccination programs.
Travel Wins in Post Pandemic Priorities
UK travellers acknowledge that not being able to travel as normal in 2020 has had a significant effect on their wellbeing. However, with over one third of Brits banking more annual leave, the potential of taking longer holidays in 2021 is very much fueling excitement.
Interestingly, nearly two in three Brits confirm that travel is more important to them now than it was before the pandemic. So much so that:
- 71% would rather go on holiday this year than find true love
- 74% would rather take a getaway than get promoted at work
- 71% would rather take a trip than buy a new car
- 53% would rather travel than have dinner with their extended family
Beach and Spa Trips Come Up Trumps
Despite domestic trips looking to dominate for summer 2021, over a third of UK travellers plan to get away as far as possible once travel restrictions are lifted (36%). And, when dreaming about their next holiday, 22% say a relaxing beach or spa trip will be the first type of trip they take when it’s safe to do so, whilst only 4% will book an active trip and just 5% say a city break is a priority. With awareness of the turmoil the travel industry has faced since the start of the pandemic, off-the-beaten-track style travel may also be popular, with 19% planning to travel to less frequented destinations to support the travel industry.
The Unexpected Things We Have Missed
Our nostalgia is ever strong, and it’s not just the trip itself Brits have missed. We’re even pining for the less conventional stuff, like plane food, sandy pants and killing time in an airport.
When it comes to the pre-holiday occasion, 15% of us have unexpectedly missed airplane meals, 14% miss middle-of-the-night wake up calls to catch an early flight and 20% of us have revealed a keenness to kill time in an airport before the flight takes off.
We’re even pining for sandy bags/clothes after leaving the beach (12%) and trying to overcome communication barriers with locals (10%).
Attitudes Towards Health & Safety Measures and Vaccine Passports
The research also highlighted a strong willingness to maintain health and safety measures if it means the freedom to travel without limitation. And, attitudes towards potential COVID vaccine passports.
67% of UK travellers are willing to accept only being able to travel if they could prove they have been vaccinated. Meanwhile 73% would accept having to wear a face mask when travelling, with 69% going as far as supporting a ‘no mask no travel’ ban (unless exempt). Almost two thirds (64%) would also be willing to only travel in small groups of 2-6 people.
A Joint Effort for a Common Goal
To help travellers safely rediscover the destinations they long for, there appears to be a consensus that governments, travellers, and the wider travel ecosystem need to work together.
Almost two thirds (62%) believe that government financial stimuli are now needed to help travel’s recovery and over half (60%) worry that the industry won’t survive unless it is supported with government grants. In terms of more practical regulations, 74% state that wider access to pre-travel COVID-19 testing is needed, and 74% say that governments should collaborate with travel associations and providers to set more consistent standards.