Vaccinations seen as key driver in travel demand

Published June 14, 2021, 2:21 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, revealed that global vaccine rollouts are driving increasing demand for vacations, with vaccinated travellers more likely to stay longer and spend more on their trips than unvaccinated travellers.

Across the Asia-Pacific (APAC), where the vaccine rollout is at a less advanced stage and new variants of Covid-19 have impacted local populations, leisure travel demand recovery is slower.
In countries like the U.S. and the UK, where the vaccination rollout has reached large swathes of the adult population, eager travellers are pushing the tourism recovery forward.
This was the main finding of Tripadvisor report, ‘A Shot in The Arm for Travel? Examining the Vaccine’s Impact on Leisure Travel Demand’, released this week.
The study combined behavioural analysis of first-party search data – revealing the type of trips travellers are actively researching on the world’s largest travel platform – with consumer sentiment analysis gathered via traveller surveys in six major international markets including Asia Pacific.
Data was drawn from an online survey of 2,413 consumers per survey, in partnership with Qualtrics, conducted between April 23, 2021 – April 30, 2021 across six countries – U.S., U.K., Australia, Italy, Singapore and Japan, as well as site behavioral data sourced from first party traffic data on the Tripadvisor platform, between May 4, 2020 – May 9, 2021.
Vaccinated travellers are more likely to be booking vacations already and to be planning to stay longer and spend more when they travel, the report confirmed.
“Higher income millennial travellers were driving the demand for leisure travel over the last few months, but heading into the summer the age demographic of travellers now booking up vacations has broadened significantly, at least in countries where large populations have been vaccinated,” noted Stephen Kaufer, CEO and co-founder, Tripadvisor, Inc.
“If ever we needed proof that vaccines are the key to long-term recovery in the tourism sector, our latest trend data provides it,” he stressed.
“Now the focus must be on governments and international organisations to ensure vaccines reach every part of the world as quickly as possible and make it as easy as possible for vaccinated tourists to travel globally once again.”
The vaccine has a significant impact on the demand for accommodation as well.
Countries where the pace of the vaccination rollout is more advanced, like the U.S. and UK, are powering near-term growth in tourism demand, while a more muted recovery picture emerges across the Asia-Pacific region.
In Singapore, more than half (63%) of respondents plan on booking a local staycation, and one in two (50%) plan on taking a vacation abroad this year.
Vaccinated travellers are a key driver of demand – when surveyed, a third (32%) of vaccinated travellers globally said they had booked a domestic vacation, of whom eighty percent (80%) agreed that the vaccine had been a factor in their decision to book.
By comparison, less than a fifth (19%) of unvaccinated travellers had already booked a domestic trip.
Among those yet to be vaccinated in Singapore, almost three quarters (70%) of those planning a domestic trip are waiting to receive at least one dose of the vaccine before booking.
Vaccine rollouts are also offering a boost to dining and experiences.
Prior to the heightened restrictions, weekly Singapore restaurant searches on Tripadvisor were steadily rising as locals were getting vaccinated and confidence levels were coming back.
Among vaccinated travellers surveyed in Singapore, nearly half (46%) said they feel more confident to dine indoors, twenty-two percent (22%) feel more confident to visit a museum, and a quarter (26%) feel more confident to visit a theme park.
Domestic tourism is dominating travel planning searches for the next few months, but for trips further out travellers are already actively planning international travel.
In the first week of May, Asia Pacific (APAC) travellers planning trips on Tripadvisor were overwhelmingly searching for domestic vacations.
However, in the following months Tripadvisor saw a steady shift of travellers looking to book more trips abroad.
Most, eighty-five percent (85%) of June vacation searches in APAC were for domestic trips, as well as eighty-three percent (83%) for trips in July and seventy-nine percent (79%) looking to book a local getaway in August.
Looking ahead to the end of the year, only sixty percent (60%) of hotel searches in December are for domestic trips, while international hotel searches make up the rest.
Interestingly, the urban tourism revival is in full swing.
City destinations are re-emerging as the trip of choice for vaccinated travellers.
Of those vaccinated travellers planning to vacation in 2021, a quarter (25%) of respondents in Singapore say they feel more confident about visiting an urban center as a result of receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.
More than a third (35%) of vaccinated respondents in Singapore are planning a city vacation in 2021, compared to less than a quarter (22%) who chose the socially-distanced outdoors.
In fact, the top two most searched destinations in Singapore on Tripadvisor (based on site queries in the first week of May 2021) were for Hong Kong and Bangkok.
On average, vaccinated travellers plan to spend more and vacation longer than other travellers.
Globally, twenty-two percent (22%) of respondents plan to take a longer trip than they would have done pre-pandemic, rising to nearly a third (30%) of vaccinated respondents.
During the first week of May, nearly half (46%) of all international accommodation searches on Tripadvisor were for stays lasting six days or more.
Globally, more than a third (35%) of vaccinated travellers surveyed plan to spend more on their next trip compared to what they spent on travel prior to the pandemic, while only a fifth (20%) of those yet to receive the vaccine plan to do so.
In Singapore overall, thirty (30%) of travellers surveyed say they plan to spend more on their next trip.
“After such a turbulent year, what offers even greater hope for a long-term recovery is the impact the vaccine is having not just on people’s confidence to travel, but also their willingness to turn planning into bookings,” says Christopher Hsi, head of market research, Tripadvisor.
“As more and more countries make progress on the rollout of the vaccine, and the positive impact that should have on the re-opening of international borders, there is every reason to expect further growth in traveller demand will come.”