Family and Friends Reunions will Drive Travel Recovery: Survey

Family waiting at the airport, unvaccinated children

One of the most difficult aspects of the pandemic has been how it has kept family and friends apart. One analysis says that the demand to reconnect in person with loved ones across the globe will be a driving force in the return to travel in the months ahead.

GlobalData, a data analytics and consulting company, compiled a recent forecast that suggests travel to visit friends and relatives will experience higher growth between 2021 and 2025 compared to leisure.

Friends and family travel is projected to grow by 17 per cent while leisure travel will peak at 16.4 per cent in the same period.

By 2025, this will translate to 242 million international departures by travellers visiting family and friends, representing a significant opportunity for the travel industry and a market for travel advisors to tap into.

In the company’s Q3 2019 consumer survey, including Canada, visiting for friends and relatives was the second most popular holiday at 46 per cent for all countries surveyed, behind only sun and beach getaways at 58 per cent.

According to the survey 53 per cent of travelers in the US prioritize this type of trip, followed by travellers from Australia (52 per cent), Canada (49 per cent), India (64 cent) and Saudi Arabia (60 per cent).

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, a travel and tourism analyst with GlobalData, advised all levels of the travel industry, from visa-issuing authorities, to travel suppliers to facilitate family travel and offer packages to make it more appealing, explaining, “All industries across the travel sector could be better informed to have a greater understanding of this tourism market.”

A different GlobalData survey revealed that 83 per cent of global respondents were ‘extremely’, ‘quite’ or ‘slightly’ concerned about restrictions on socialising with friends and family, suggesting more barriers to travel need to be removed for the travel industry to capitalize on this growth opportunity.

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