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Traveller Sentiment During the Global Pandemic

Traveller Sentiment During the Global Pandemic © Patrick Wittke/Unsplash
Where is the road heading for the future of travel? In this particular shot it's literally somewhere in frozen Iceland, but we're more interested in the figurative aspect of the question © Patrick Wittke/Unsplash

Surveying the interests, behaviours and outlook of frequent travellers

2020 was a year unlike any other, at least in our lifetimes, and perhaps no industry was more affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic than travel and tourism. Sealed borders, closed venues, cancelled flights and seemingly continuously changing rules, regulations and prohibitions around the world made travelling for both work and pleasure a challenge, to say the least. In the midst of this day-to-day chaos and future uncertainty, we decided to reach out to our readers and the general public in order to better understand how they felt about the current situation and also gain some foresight into what the future might hold for the travel industry.

This is the first of what will be quarterly traveller sentiment surveys conducted by our increasingly important and quickly expanding research and analysis division. The responses were collected over a one month period from mid-October to mid-November 2020, primarily through our existing global subscriber database, as well as the databases of our local offices, social media and our various other digital platforms.

Readers from around the world, but primarily Europe, sound off current travel trends

A total of 1648 responses were submitted from a diverse geographical cross section of avid travellers in 77 countries – 1648 will certainly strike European history aficionados as an auspicious number, as it was the year that ushered in the so-called Peace of Westphalia. Participation reflected our strong reader base in English-speaking countries as well as the long-running market presence of our printed and online media in Central and Eastern Europe, with the United Kingdom (ie England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) providing the most respondents (26.5%), followed by South Africa (11.5%) and the United States (10.9%), while Germany (4.1%), Canada (3.3%), Romania (3.0%), Poland (2.6%), Australia (2.4%), Croatia (2.4%) and the Netherlands (2.1%) rounded out the top ten.

Frustrations are many, but optimism abounds for 2021

Overall, respondents tended to take a perhaps surprisingly optimistic outlook on the situation, amending their plans to travel as much as possible in 2020, and looking forward to greatly expanding both the range and length of their travel in 2021. A large majority of respondents were understanding of the various restrictions that had been put in force, although at the same time expressing frustration about many of them. In most countries, a majority of respondents also admitted discovering at least several positive side effects to the global travel shutdown, which we of course took as an opportunity to make an obvious Monty Python reference. So even if understanding travellers and gaining foresight into the future of the travel industry isn’t of interest, you can still download the full report for the sprinkling of witticisms and cultural references that we managed to sneak into it.

Speaking of downloading the full report, if you’re still wondering how to do so, it likely means that you closed the popup without realising it (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us). So go ahead and refresh the page, scroll down a bit, and you’ll be hit with a huge blue box where you can get your copy in exchange for an email. Happy reading!

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