Recent travelers are gaining confidence in returning to air travel, according to a recent poll by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The poll, which asked travelers about confidence in a return to air travel, frustration with current travel restrictions, and acceptance of a travel app to manage health credentials for travel.
The results showed that travelers are becoming more comfortable with the new normal, including:
- 88% believe that when opening borders, the right balance must be struck between managing COVID-19 risks and getting the economy going again
- 85% believe that governments should set COVID-19 targets (such as testing capacity or vaccine distribution) to re-open borders
- 84% believe that COVID-19 will not disappear, and we need to manage its risks while living and traveling normally
- 68% agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions
- 49% believe that air travel restrictions have gone too far
Travelers are supporting travel restrictions, while also feeling comfortable with managing the risks of COVID-19.
Many respondents are frustrated with the loss of freedom to travel, and 68 percent said they feel their quality of life has suffered because of it. Nearly 40% of respondents said they have had mental stress or have missed an “important human moment.” More than one-third of the respondents said they have not been able to do business normally because of the restrictions.
“The top priority of everybody at the moment is staying safe amid the COVID-19 crisis. But it is important that we map a way to being able to re-open borders, manage risks and enable people to get on with their lives,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “That includes the freedom to travel. It is becoming clear that we will need to learn to live and travel in a world that has COVID-19. Given the health, social and economic costs of travel restrictions, airlines should be ready to re-connect the world as soon as governments are able to re-open borders. That’s why a plan with measurable milestones is so critical. Without one, how can we be prepared for restart without an unnecessary delay?”
Travelers are looking to the future though, and many expect travel to return to normal soon. The results included that:
- 57% expect to be traveling within two months of the pandemic being contained (improved from 49% in September 2020)
- 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (improved from 63% in September 2020)
- 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated
- 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020)
- 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilizes (improved from 65% in September 2020)
“People want to get back to travel, but quarantine is the showstopper,” said de Juniac. “As testing capacity and technology improves and the vaccinated population grows, the conditions for removing quarantine measures are being created. And this points us again towards working with governments for a well-planned re-opening as soon as conditions allow.”
Although many travelers are frustrated with restrictions, many showed that they want to open back up safely. The poll asked about a potential IATA Travel Pass, which revealed:
- 89% of respondents believe that governments need to standardize vaccine and testing certificates
- 80% are encouraged by the prospect of the IATA Travel Pass App and would use it as soon as available
- 78% will only use a travel credential app if they have full control over their data
“We are designing IATA Travel Pass with the traveler in mind. Passengers keep all the data on their mobile devices, and they remain in full control of where that data goes. There is no central database. While we are making good progress with numerous trials, we are still awaiting the global standards for digital testing and vaccine certificates. Only with global standards and governments accepting them can we maximize efficiency and deliver an optimum travel experience,” said de Juniac.