Traveler confidence is surging, and it’s driving a significant rebound in travel activity. Nearly 86% of travelers have taken domestic trips, and 42% have traveled internationally, since the pandemic started a year a half ago, according to the 2021 Fall Global Rescue Traveler Sentiment and Safety Survey.
“Between April and October, there’s been a 74% jump in people taking domestic trips and an enormous 207% increase in individuals traveling internationally,” said Dan Richards, CEO, Global Rescue and a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.
Fear of COVID-19-related quarantine or infection while traveling declined by 37% compared to January 2021, according to the survey of the most experienced travelers in the world. Three out of four survey respondents said they are “less” or “much less” concerned about travel today compared to the beginning of the pandemic, reflecting a 65% improvement in individual concerns about travel compared to traveler attitudes at the beginning of 2021.
“As COVID-19 fears subside, people are significantly less concerned about travel,” Richards said.
Vaccination prevalence, its efficacy and the declining infection rates are contributing to a return to travel normalcy. According to the survey, 73% of travelers reported being vaccinated, or having recovered from a COVID-19 infection, makes them feel safe enough to travel.
A third of survey takers (36%) said choosing uncrowded or remote destinations was an important factor to feel safe enough to travel. Respondents listed China, the Middle East, Africa, India and Russia as the regions they were least likely to tour. Canada, Mexico, France, Italy and Spain were recognized as the countries travelers were most likely to visit.
Conversely, respondents said masking and physical distancing—common requirements endorsed by officials—were the least effective behaviors that would make them feel safe enough to travel.
“COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are successfully saving lives,” Richards said. “People are keeping their fingers crossed in the hopes the end of the pandemic is near. Unfortunately, government officials haven’t found and applied a standardized system that will encourage a return to international business and leisure travel.”