Traveller confidence drops as COVID-19 continues deadly march around the globe

IATA survey shows ‘significant drop’ in people willing to fly

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The days of social distancing in airports are gone as the industry rapidly recovers. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released public opinion research on Tuesday (7 July) that showed 45 percent of the people surveyed in June indicated the they would return to travel within a few months of the COVID-19 pandemic subsiding, a “significant drop from the 61 percent recorded” in IATA’s April survey. “Overall, the survey results demonstrate that people have not lost their taste for travel, but there are blockers to returning to pre-crisis levels of travel,” IATA said.

Download the IATA survey presentation here.
Listen to the IATA media conference call here.


traveller-confidence-drops-as-covid-19-continues-deadly-march-around-the-globeThe poll also showed:

  • A majority of travellers surveyed plan to return to travel to see family and friends (57 percent), to vacation (56 percent) or to do business (55 percent) as soon as possible after the pandemic subsides.
  • But, 66 percent said that they would travel less for leisure and business in the post-pandemic world.
  • And 64 percent indicated that they would postpone travel until economic factors improved.
IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac (centre) and other IATA officials address reporters in Geneva at IATA’s Media Day in December 2019. (PHOTO: IATA)

“This crisis could have a very long shadow. Passengers are telling us that it will take time before they return to their old travel habits,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general. “Many airlines are not planning for demand to return to 2019 levels until 2023 or 2024. Numerous governments have responded with financial lifelines and other relief measures at the height of the crisis. As some parts of the world are starting the long road to recovery, it is critical that governments stay engaged. Continued relief measures like alleviation from use-it-or-lose it slot rules, reduced taxes or cost reduction measures will be critical for some time to come.”

IATA said one of the biggest blockers to industry recovery are quarantines that countries are imposing on international travellers. Some 85 percent of travellers reported concern for being quarantined while traveling, a similar level of concern to those reporting general concern for catching COVID-19 when traveling (84 percent). And, among the measures that travellers were willing to take in adapting to travel during or after the COVID-19 pandemic, only 17 percent reported that they were will willing to undergo quarantine, IATA said.

“Quarantine is a demand killer. Keeping borders closed prolongs the pain by causing economic hardship well beyond airlines,” said de Juniac. “If governments want to re-start their tourism sectors, alternative risk-based measures are needed. Many are built into the ICAO Take-off guidelines, like health screening before departure to discourage symptomatic people from traveling. Airlines are helping this effort with flexible rebooking policies. In these last days we have seen the UK and the EU announce risk-based calculations for opening their borders. And other countries have chosen testing options. Where there is a will to open up, there are ways to do it responsibly.”


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