Canadians can’t wait to travel again, but several barriers surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout could still slow travel recovery, according to a tripcentral.ca survey examining the relationship between vaccination levels and future demand to book travel.
Conducted between 24-28FEB, 2021, the survey of 5,785 past customers showed there is a strong desire to book travel and pent up demand that is at the point of bursting. Of all respondents, 71 per cent said they were either “very interested” in travelling as soon as they can, or wanting to travel “so badly, you have no idea.”
Tripadvisor concluded from the survey that if the vaccine rollout goes according to the Canadian government’s plans, small demand for bookings will arise in the spring, as long as new cases and hospitalizations are down. Bookings will begin slowly for fall and winter travel, after people are vaccinated themselves, although a sizable group will wait until friends and family, or a majority of the population is vaccinated, indicating much more booking activity in the fall. Demand will not fully recover until travel destinations are vaccinated and restrictions are lifted, the travel agency concluded.
“Concern about vaccination at destinations would indicate that even if Canada is mostly vaccinated by fall, demand for travel will still not fully recover,” said Richard Vanderlubbe, President of tripcentral.ca.
For the 80 per cent expecting to receive inoculations by SEP, not yet being vaccinated is the main barrier to travel for 45 per cent of them. Having to quarantine on return is the next biggest barrier to 32 per cent of respondents while one quarter ranked “having to get tested before flights” as their top concern.
The second highest concern among respondents is people in their travel destination not being vaccinated, with 23 per cent selecting this as a concern.
Just under 18 per cent of those surveyed said they did not wish to be vaccinated at all.
Of those not interested in being vaccinated, 61 per cent said they would travel right now if it were not for the travel restrictions, and 68 per cent ranked the quarantine on return being the primary concern about booking travel.
As for when people expect to travel, 51 per cent of the group willing to get vaccinated said they would travel in fall 2021 or winter 2022. Only eight per cent said they would want to travel in spring or summer 2021. A majority (58%) said they were most likely to book an all-inclusive sun vacation, followed by VFR (32%), a city stay in Canada or the U.S. (13%), and a Europe trip (13%). Cruise came in near the bottom, with only 10.6 per cent choosing this vacation type.
“Canada has purchased far more vaccines than will be needed, and eventually we will donate it to other countries. It makes sense for the government to consider donating it to countries where Canadians travel such as Cuba, Dominican Republic, parts of Mexico, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands,” said Vanderlubbe. “Giving back to countries that Canadians visit most and reducing the risk of Canadians returning home carrying variants from unvaccinated destinations is a win-win all around.”
Complete survey results can be accessed here.