Travel Consul has published its third COVID-19 IMPACT Global Travel Distribution Survey, which presents key findings from 1,292 travel industry executives, including travel agency owners, independent agents and tour operators from five continents and 20 countries, on the state of the travel industry and its recovery.

Two-thirds agree that immunized passports or electronic vaccination certificates for international travel would help increase bookings by 2021. Respondents in North America are less certain about the impact of these measures: only 57% agree. Forty-four percent of all respondents agreed that widespread vaccination would help the industry recover.

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Current trend

Most travelers faced with the choice of choosing, canceling or rebooking a trip today choose to postpone it. Fifty-four percent of customers worldwide postpone rather than cancel, indicating more hope for the future. Customers in North America book mostly for 2022, while the biggest global response came in the third quarter of 2021.

Customers want safe, all-inclusive solo travel. Since October 2020, interest in solo travel has increased by eight percent. More and more people are looking for all-inclusive vacations, as many of them now offer strict safety measures and COVID-19 testing on site. Consumption growth increased from 16% in October 2020 to 39% in the first quarter of 2021.

When choosing a destination, clients are more concerned than before the pandemic about access to quality medical care, the cost of that care, and the general health and safety measures in place at the destination to prevent the spread of COPID-19.

Travel consultants had to adapt their business to the pandemic, strengthen customer service and adjust their business models to this unpredictable time. Nearly half of the North American advisors surveyed indicated that attention to training was an important part of their business this quarter. The development of new products has become less focused, but the desire to explore new directions has increased.

Finally, travel advisors and customers benefit from the flexibility of the suppliers’ cancellation and change policies. This policy makes it easier for customers to book international travel seven to one years in advance. The survey shows a 7% increase since October.

We know that travel advisors will play an important role in the recovery of the travel industry, and this study gives us great insight into what they need from their partners to rebuild their businesses, said Julie Cuesta, executive vice president and general manager of MMGY Myriad. Tour operators and consultants were also able to discuss some of the key issues that will affect consumers’ future travel decisions, including the impact of vaccinations, destination health and safety certifications and other key elements.

For more information, please contact the Tourist Consulate.

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