Vaccinations key to reviving travel

SINGAPORE, 9 April 2021: While tough days may still be ahead, new research from Booking.com reveals that the appetite to explore the world remains undiminished and after months of restrictions.

Booking.com reveals insights based on feedback from more than 28,000 travellers across 28 countries and territories, including Singapore.

Travellers are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the roll-out of vaccines, the development of other breakthrough medical advances in the battle against COVID-19 and ongoing discussions on possible air travel bubbles.

Singapore is viewed as an early starter when outbound travel kicks in based on the progress of its vaccination programme that is giving citizens and residents hope that they will be able to resume travel to neighbouring countries soon.

Booking.com data shows that despite knowing that the pandemic finish line hasn’t been reached just yet, seven in 10 Singaporean travellers (71%) feel more hopeful about travelling in 2021 due to the unwavering commitment of the scientific and medical communities and the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, and potential air travel bubble developments.

The same amount (70%) state that not being able to travel extensively in 2020 has made them yearn for travel even more in 2021.

The trust in vaccines runs deep, with slightly over half (63%) of Singaporean travellers stating that they won’t travel until they have been vaccinated, which rises to 69% among those 55+ years old, while a greater amount (67%) of Singaporean travellers will only travel to countries that have implemented vaccination programs. But there still is some hesitation, with almost half (52%) remaining sceptical as to whether a vaccine will truly help make travel safer.

Travel wins in post-pandemic priorities

Despite feeling mostly optimistic, travellers all around the world acknowledge that not being able to travel in 2020 as they used to in previous years has had a significant effect on their well-being, with over half (52%) of Singaporean travellers reporting a negative impact on their mental health and 47% have felt imprisoned in their own home due to travel restrictions.

65% of Singaporean travellers also say travel is more important to them now than it was before the pandemic. So much so that almost two thirds (65%) of Singaporean travellers would even go so far as stating that they would rather go on a vacation in 2021 than find true love. Meanwhile, 59% would prioritise travelling over success at work, preferring to go on vacation than getting promoted.

Six out of 10 (62%) Singaporean travellers have used the increased time at home to plan future travel, while slightly over half (54%) have banked more vacation days. They are excited about the potential of taking longer vacations in 2021. When dreaming about their next vacation, 51% of Singaporean travellers feel confident that they’ll be able to hit the beach by summer 2021, and 18% say a relaxing beach or spa trip will be the first type of trip when it’s safe to do so. After an exhausting year, only 9% will book a city break, and just 5% say an active break is a priority.

Following the impact that Covid-19 has had on the travel industry, 96% of Singaporean travellers think the industry needs to be supported to get back on its feet. Nearly three quarters (74%) believe that government financial stimuli are now needed to help travel’s recovery, and over two thirds (69%) worry that the industry won’t survive unless it is supported with government grants.

In terms of more practical regulations, 75% state that wider access to pre-travel COVID-19 testing is needed, and 73% say that governments should collaborate with travel associations and providers to set more consistent standards.

Whilst 70% of Booking.com’s accommodation partners surveyed are cautiously optimistic about the future of their business. They share travellers’ mindset that the industry needs support, as the majority of them would like to see governments do more in the future to support the travel industry during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. According to properties of all types and sizes, three key areas that need to be addressed are more consistent international standards when it comes to travel advice & rules, speeding up vaccine roll-out programmes and wider access to pre-travel COVID-19 testing.

But with 62% of accommodation providers expecting to see an increase in interest for travel for 2021, they continue to do their part to ensure travellers feel safe, with almost 70%** having increased health & safety measures and improved cleaning processes.

Accommodation providers are not the only ones willing to roll up their sleeves, with 60% of Singaporean travellers willing to accept only being able to travel if they could prove they have been vaccinated. Meanwhile, 71% would accept having to wear a face mask when travelling, with 61% going as far as supporting a ‘no mask no travel’ ban (unless exempt). Two thirds (68%) would be willing to only travel in small groups of 2-6 people.

To support the travel industry more directly, 25% of Singaporean travellers plan to use travel credits/vouchers from cancelled trips instead of requesting a refund and 22% will buy vouchers for family and friends for them to use when it’s safe to travel again. Meanwhile, 28% plan to choose less frequented destinations, and 27% want to book independent accommodations or accommodations in or near their hometown to support local businesses (32%).

(Source: News Booking.com)

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