Travel experience, the challenge ahead

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Travel experience, the challenge ahead
Source: Twitter @IATA
October 06, 2021

With the reopening of borders, destinations have the opportunity to rebuild demand based on traveler preferences

With the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, traveling has become a true odyssey. With the advance in vaccination levels and cases decreasing in recent weeks, the states have decided to remove restrictions, reopen their borders and make way for the reopening of the tourism market. But rebuilding demand is not something simple, it must be taken into account that today's tourists have changed a lot. He has become much more analytical and demanding so it is time to interpret his preferences and give him the role that he should never have lost.
There are several issues that destinations must evaluate, not only is there dissatisfaction with sanitary measures, the approval of vaccines has also become key.  

A study commissioned by IATA of 4,700 respondents in 11 markets in September demonstrated confidence that COVID-19 risks can be managed effectively and freedom to travel must be restored.

  • 67% of respondents felt that most country borders should be opened now.
  • 64% considered that border closures are unnecessary and have not been effective in containing the virus.
  • 73% responded that their quality of life has decreased as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“People are becoming increasingly frustrated with COVID-19 travel restrictions, and more have seen their quality of life suffer as a result. They don't see the need for travel restrictions to control the virus. And too many family moments, opportunities for personal development, and business priorities have been missed. In short, they miss the freedom to fly and want it to be restored. The message they are sending to governments is: COVID-19 is not going away, so we must establish a way to manage its risks while living and traveling normally" said Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA.

Support for testing or vaccination to replace quarantines grows

  • 84% of those surveyed indicated that they will not travel if there is a possibility that they will be quarantined at their destination.
  • 73% support the removal of quarantine if a person has tested negative for COVID-19.
  • 80% of those surveyed agree that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely by plane. 

Strong rejection of mandatory vaccination
There were opinions against making inoculation a condition for air travel. About two-thirds considered it morally wrong to restrict travel only to those who have been vaccinated. More than 80% of those surveyed believe that tests before traveling by plane should be an alternative for people who do not have access to vaccination.

The cost of the tests, an issue to be solved
Although 85% are willing to undergo the test if necessary in the travel process, several problems persist:

  • 75% of respondents indicated that the cost of testing is a significant barrier to travel.
  • 80% believe that governments should bear the cost of testing.
  • 77% see the inconvenience of testing as a barrier to travel

“Here is a message for governments. People are willing to get tested to travel. But they don't like the cost or the hassle. Both can be addressed by governments. The reliability of rapid antigen tests is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Wider acceptance of antigen testing by governments would reduce inconvenience and costs, costs that the WHO International Health Regulations stipulate must be borne by governments. It is also clear that while people accept testing and other measures, such as wearing masks, as needed, they want to return to more normal ways of traveling when it is safe to do so" said Walsh.

Great confidence with the security of travel

  • Among those who have traveled since June 2020, 86% felt safe on board the flight due to COVID-19 measures.
  • 87% believe that protection measures are well implemented
  • 88% felt that airline personnel are doing a good job of enforcing COVID-19 rules

“People want to travel. 86% expect to travel within six months after the end of the crisis. With COVID-19 becoming endemic, vaccines are widely available and therapeutics rapidly improving, we are rapidly approaching that point in time. People also tell us that they are confident to travel. But what those who have traveled tell us is that the rules are too complex and the paperwork too burdensome. To ensure recovery, governments must simplify processes, restore freedom to travel and adopt digital solutions for issuing and managing travel health credentials", concluded Walsh.


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