There may be strong pent up demand for leisure travel and increasing number of business travellers that want to get back on the move, but we are still a long, long way from seeing levels return to post-Coronavirus pandemic numbers. Travel restrictions, especially in terms of international mobility, continue to inhibit the recovery of travel and tourism, but remain a key weapon in the arsenal of governments working to reduce COVID-19 spread.
While the door to international travel remains closed countries can get a hold of virus transmission in their home markets. The problem is even opening the door slightly, without efficient management of arrivals, can quickly fuel the fire and undo months of work subduing the potency of a virus that is leaving an indelible mark on our history.
Many travellers may be eager to enjoy a holiday or get back into business routines, but a new study from American travel website, The Points Guy, highlights that are also acutely aware of the dangers of COVID-19 infection and the risks that the return to travel could influence its future spread. Its research from a YouGov Mar-2021 survey more than 2,400 US adults shows that three-quarters of potential travellers in the US (76%) would be as or more likely to travel to a destination or with a provider that requires proof of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This includes nearly half (49%) who are more likely (31% much more likely) to travel to a destination or with a provider that requires proof of vaccination, while one in four (26%) say it would have no impact on their travel plans. Additionally, nearly three-quarters (74%) of potential travellers are likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine or are already vaccinated.
The study also found that two-thirds (67%) of those who are already vaccinated and have a desire to travel said they are more likely to travel to a destination or with a provider that requires a vaccine passport, including approaching half (47%) who are much more likely. Of those who are very or somewhat likely to get the vaccine, approaching two-thirds (63%) said they would also be more likely (39% much more likely) to travel to a destination that requires proof of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Just over one-third (34%) with a desire to travel said they are less likely (17% much less likely) to travel to a destination or with a provider if they must prove vaccination. This includes 42% who are not likely to get the vaccine and 31% who are already vaccinated or are likely to get the vaccine. Of those who are less likely to travel to a destination that requires a vaccine passport, 64% cite privacy concerns (i.e., my health is no one’s business) as a reason not to do so and 46% cite safety/health concerns (i.e., safety of the vaccine or my health), while 18% cite some other reason, notes The Points Guy on the research.
Overall, around two-thirds of US adults (64%) revealed a desire to travel in 2021 in the research. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those with a desire to travel are likely to get the vaccine/are already vaccinated compared to 64% who don’t have a desire to travel at all. Generationally speaking, boomers (ages 57–75) and Gen Xers (ages 41–56) with a desire to travel were found to be more likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine/are already vaccinated than their younger counterparts (79% and 75%, respectively versus 70% of younger generations).
The study also shows that potential travellers who have, or are likely to get, the COVID-19 vaccine said they would feel safe travelling to the following places: a state or national park (70%), a public beach (59%), a big city (50%), a resort (45%), a theme park (32%) and a cruise (20%) with just 8% not comfortable travelling to any of them.
Our travels will also most likely be with those closest to us, according to the research. When asked who travellers hoped to journey with first once vaccinated, two in five (40%) said significant other or spouse. Other common travel partners included immediate family members (30%, i.e., parents, siblings, children, etc.) and friend(s) (13%). Less common travel partners include extended family members (5%), strangers (i.e., group trip, 2%) and coworker(s) (1%). A mere 8% hopes to travel solo.
The study also found that overall 71% of US adults are likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or are already vaccinated, with 41% very likely, 17% somewhat likely and 13% having already received the vaccine, although nearly three in ten (29%) say they are not too likely or not at all likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available to them.
“Presenting proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccine could be a traveller’s golden ticket for entrance into a country that will otherwise keep its doors shut, or it could become a requirement for those who want to skip a lengthy quarantine period or rigorous COVID-19 testing requirements,” says Melanie Lieberman, travel editor at The Points Guy.
“COVID-19 vaccines are also continuing to play a crucial role in restoring travellers’ confidence. For many Americans who want to travel this year, choosing a destination or provider with a vaccination requirement may be about more than access, or the convenience of avoiding quarantine and testing mandates. There’s also the added peace of mind that a destination or provider is prioritising health and safety,” she adds.