Mass rollout of Covid vaccines could help inject vitality back into the global tourism scene, with a recent TripAdvisor report showing growing consumer confidence and demand for overseas travel in the year ahead.
The report, entitled The Year of the Travel Rebound: 5 Traveller Trends to Watch Out for in 2021, analysed first party search data as well as traveller sentiment across six major markets – the US, the UK, Australia, Italy, Japan and Singapore. It revealed consumers’ increasing confidence that they will travel abroad in 2021, particularly in the second half of the year.
In fact, globally, the majority of hotel clicks on TripAdvisor are already shifting to international destinations for trips taking place from May 2021 onwards, as opposed to domestic destinations, which had dominated the proportion of hotel clicks throughout 2020.
The five trends highlighted in the report are:
1. Travellers are planning to travel abroad in the second half of the year, but won’t wait to make plans
Nearly half (47%) of travellers surveyed globally say they are planning to travel internationally in 2021, including 61% of Singapore travellers. In fact, one in ten (11%) of Singaporean respondents have already booked an international trip for 2021.
2. Vaccinations will be a game-changer for traveller confidence
The widespread rollout of Covid-19 vaccines won’t just impact travellers’ confidence to travel, it will have a major influence on where leisure travellers are prepared to go too.
Globally, more than three-quarters (77%) of travellers surveyed say they will be more likely to travel internationally if they receive the vaccine, rising to 86% for travel domestically. In Singapore, 87% of travellers surveyed say they are more likely to travel domestically if they receive the vaccine, and 90% are more likely to travel internationally.
More than a quarter (26%) of respondents globally say that they would only travel to destinations that required visitors to be vaccinated before travel, with Australian (32%) and US (30%) travellers the most likely to expect destinations to adopt this safety measure. In Singapore, 26% of respondents say they will only travel to destinations that require a pre-travel vaccination in 2021.
3. Domestic vacations remain high on travellers’ wishlist for 2021
While international tourism looks to be getting a boost this year following a shutdown for much of 2020, domestic travel isn’t necessarily going to take a backseat in 2021. In the first week of January, nearly 70% of hotel clickers on TripAdvisor were booking future domestic trips, while further out, May through August are still proving the most popular months for domestic vacations.
Globally, three-quarters (74%) of travellers surveyed plan to take at least one overnight domestic leisure trip in 2021, with 60% of travellers surveyed in Singapore planning a domestic trip this year.
The good news for destinations and tourism businesses in Singapore looking to attract domestic travellers is that 73% of Singaporean travellers planning a 2021 domestic vacation have yet to book it, so there is still an opportunity for businesses to capture that demand.
4. The joy of vacation planning will be stronger than ever as travellers spend more time researching 2021 trips
With travel plans dashed in early 2020, many people have been dreaming about their next big vacation for more than ten months, so it’s no surprise that travellers are extra conscious of getting it just right when they do travel.
Three-quarters (74%) of travellers surveyed globally say they will spend more time choosing a destination this year, including just over 79% of travellers in Singapore. As well, 77% of travellers in Singapore will spend more time reading reviews, 76% will spend more time selecting their accommodation, and 78% will spend more time finding things to do.
5. Consumers can’t wait to dine out again, but their taste for takeout will still endure
As in-person dining was restricted in many countries throughout 2020, the success of takeout and delivery services soared, as consumers sought to satisfy their appetite. But encouragingly for the hospitality industry, in-person dining’s rebound in 2021 doesn’t mean a decline in takeout and delivery demand.
Nearly half (47%) of respondents globally say they plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often in 2021 than they did in 2020, and a quarter of respondents (27%) say they plan to order more takeout meals this year. In Singapore, 48% of respondents plan to dine in-person at restaurants more often this year, and 30% plan to order more takeout.
Shibani Walia, senior research analyst, Tripadvisor, said: “Despite the fact that many countries around the world are still grappling with high infection rates of Covid-19, many travellers are feeling optimistic that they will be able to vacation abroad this year, particularly coinciding with the rollout of a vaccine.
“Consumer appetite for travel is as strong as it has been since the start of the pandemic and, as our data shows, many people are already actively planning their next big trip – even for trips more than four months out.
“For destinations, brands and tourism operators, it is so important that they act now to attract this early booking demand, or else they risk missing out to the competition.”
The full report can be read here.