Kartagener Associates Inc. has spent 25 years connecting international travel suppliers with the North American travel trade. As the global COVID-19 pandemic upended the travel industry, KAI collected more than 600 responses from the North American general public April 14–19 to determine just how badly the pandemic impacted North Americans’ attitude toward international travel.
Of the 600 surveyed, 65 percent were female, with the majority (61 percent) married. One-quarter (25 percent) were 35–44 years of age, with 40 percent taking at least one international leisure trip per year. When asked how important is travel to you, 27 percent of respondents scored travel 90–100.
The majority of respondents “wing it” when it comes to travel, with 49 percent booking flights/accommodations and then figuring out the trip as they go. Most (66 percent) traveled to Europe in the last five years, followed by the Caribbean (57 percent), Asia (22 percent), South America (15 percent), Africa (14 percent), Central America (14 percent), the Middle East (12 percent) and Australia (9 percent).
While 46 percent said they never booked trips with a travel professional pre-COVID-19, 19 percent indicated they are more likely to book future trips through a travel professional; 36 percent never purchased travel insurance, but now 57 percent indicated they are more likely to buy travel insurance post-coronavirus.
About one-third (32 percent) say they are less likely to travel in 2021, with the reasons why (in order of importance) listed as: health and safety concerns over traveling; worry the epidemic may spread again; likely to have less income this year/financial reasons; work will be more stressful or not in the mood to travel; and less holiday time. Also according to the research, “Although 1 in 5 respondents had someone in their household who lost their job due to the pandemic, overall spending on international leisure trips isn’t projected to suffer as much as one might think.”
Of those surveyed, 41 percent anticipate business will resume (restaurants, non-essential businesses, etc.) in June, and 29 percent indicated they will get on an airplane in one to three months after business resumption. Travel ranked No. 3 on the list of what respondents are most looking forward to doing post-lockdown.
A few final takeaways from the KAI survey include: one-third of respondents said they are less likely to take an international flight as a result of the pandemic; 16 percent are more likely to book a villa or private home instead of a hotel; and 38 percent indicated expenditure on domestic leisure travel will increase, while spend on international leisure travel will decrease in the near term.
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