New research by Booking.com reveals growing optimism among Singaporean travellers about returning to travel, in the wake of vaccine rollouts and ongoing discussions on potential air travel bubbles.
The survey found that seven in 10 (71%) Singaporean travellers feel more hopeful about travelling in 2021 as the country ramps up its vaccination programme. The same amount (70%) state that not being able to travel extensively in 2020 has made them yearn for travel even more in 2021.
Results from the survey is part of a larger global study, where Booking.com polled more than 28,000 travellers across 28 countries and territories, including Singapore, to uncover what travellers feel most hopeful about as it becomes safe to travel again, and what support they believe the travel industry needs to get back on its feet.
The trust in vaccines runs deep, with slightly over half (63%) of Singaporean travellers stating that they won’t travel internationally until they have been vaccinated, which rises to 69% among those 55+ years old. Meanwhile, a greater number (67%) of Singaporean travellers say they will only travel to countries that have implemented vaccination programmes. But there is still some hesitation, with almost half (52%) remaining sceptical as to whether a vaccine will truly help make travel safer.
Showing the extent of pent-up travel demand, almost two thirds (65%) of Singaporean travellers say they would rather go on a vacation in 2021 than find true love, while over half (59%) say they would prioritise travelling over success at work, preferring to go on vacation than get promoted.
Six in 10 (62%) Singaporean travellers have used the increased time at home to plan future travel, while slightly over half (54%) have banked more vacation days, so are excited about the potential of taking longer vacations in 2021. When dreaming about their next vacation, 51% of Singaporean travellers feel confident that they will be able to hit the beach by summer 2021, with 18% saying a relaxing beach or spa trip will be the first type of trip they favour when it’s safe to travel again. Only 9% will book a city break and just 5% say an active break is a priority.
Following the impact that Covid-19 has had on the travel industry, 96% of Singaporean travellers think the industry needs to be supported to get back on its feet. Nearly three quarters (74%) believe that government financial stimuli are now needed to help travel’s recovery, and over two thirds (69%) worry that the industry won’t survive unless it is supported with government grants.
In terms of more practical regulations, 75% state that wider access to pre-travel Covid-19 testing is needed, and 73% say that governments should collaborate with travel associations and providers to set more consistent standards.
While 70% of Booking.com’s accommodation partners surveyed are cautiously optimistic about the future of their business, they share travellers’ mindset that the industry needs support, as the majority of them would like to see governments do more in the future to support the travel industry during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Three key areas that need to be addressed, according to properties of all types and sizes, are more consistent international standards when it comes to travel advice and rules, speeding up of vaccine rollout programmes, and wider access to pre-travel Covid-19 testing.
Accommodation providers are not the only ones willing to roll up their sleeves, with 60% of Singaporean travellers willing to accept only being able to travel if they could prove they have been vaccinated. Meanwhile 71% would accept having to wear a face mask when travelling, with 61% going as far as supporting a ‘no mask no travel’ ban (unless exempt). Two thirds (68%) would be willing to only travel in small groups of two to six people.
To support the travel industry more directly, 25% of Singaporean travellers plan to use travel credits or vouchers from cancelled trips, instead of requesting a refund, and 22% will buy vouchers for family and friends for them to use when it’s safe to travel again. Meanwhile, 28% plan to choose less frequented destinations, while 27% want to book independent accommodations or accommodations in or near their hometown to support local businesses (32%).