Finder's Travel Index: COVID-19's impact global want to travel

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Finder’s Travel Index

Ireland has the fourth lowest interest in travel in the coming three months.

A year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, countries are still restricting movements, some borders remain closed and airlines are running reduced schedules. We’re running monthly surveys in 18 countries, so far surveying over 57,000 people, to find out how the restrictions impact residents’ plans to travel domestically or internationally in the following months.

Travel sentiments in Ireland

While Ireland may have one of the lowest appetites for travel, interest seems to be on the rise. Almost a fifth (19.90%) of Irish people say they plan to travel in the next 3 months in Finder’s March Travel Index, up from just 15.23% in the February survey.

Domestic

It looks as though Irish people won’t be getting too far ahead of themselves when planning travel, with the domestic travel numbers for April jumping between the two surveys. In the February survey, 4.55% of Irish people said they would be travelling domestically in March, with only 2.15% saying they plan to travel around Ireland in April. However, by the March survey, the number planning to travel domestically in April jumped to 5.89% – a growth of 174%.

International

Interest in international travel remains fairly low. While there was a slight uptick between the two surveys with those saying they were travelling internationally in April, the number of people saying they were jetting abroad in May actually fell.

Irishmen plan to travel more than women

Irishmen saw their appetite for travel jump between the February and March surveys, jumping from 15.40% planning to travel to 21.68%. While women also saw their interest rise, it was not as pronounced, going from 14.56% to 16.05% of Irishwomen saying they will travel.

The biggest jump for both men and women between the February and March Travel Indexes was in those planning to travel in April domestically, jumping from 1.92% to 3.42% of women planning to travel and from 2.22% to 7.12% of men.

Domestic travel

International travel

Those aged 25-34 most likely to travel

Over one-fifth (22.92%) of those aged between 25 and 34 say that they will travel at some point in the coming 3 months, with their interest in both domestic (7.64%) and international (4.32%) travel peaking in June.

Domestic travel

International travel

How does the rest of the world compare to Ireland?

Malaysia’s appetite for both domestic and international travel exceeds the UK by almost 20%. Following the March survey, Malaysians were found to be the most likely travellers, with almost two-fifths (38.52%) of respondents saying that they will travel either domestically or internationally in the next 3 months (April, May and June). This is slightly higher than the 37.68% of Malaysians who said they planned on travelling in the coming 3 months (March, April, May) in the February survey.

The appetite for travel in India also jumped slightly between the February and March surveys, with 36.85% saying they have plans to travel in the coming 3 months in the February survey, compared to 37.81% in the March survey.

Rounding out the top 3 countries with the highest appetite for travel is Russia, with 36.36% saying they plan to travel in the coming 3 months in the March survey compared to the 28.27% in the February survey.

Interestingly, while they still have one of the lowest appetites for travel overall, the number of people in the UK planning to travel jumped from 10.71% in the February survey to 19.06% in the March survey, a jump of 78%.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Philippines, which in the February survey has the highest interest in travel in the coming 3 months (38.77%) but saw travel plans fall in the March survey to 35.27%. While still a healthy number of people planning trips in the coming 3 months, it’s a reduction of about 9%.

Domestic travel in the next three months

On the domestic front, travel is most popular in India, with 29% saying that they plan to travel in the coming 3 months in the March survey, up slightly from the 27.35% in February. Malaysians also have an appetite for domestic travel, with 27.53% saying they’re planning a trip in the coming 3 months. The survey shows that 25.99% of Italians are also planning a domestic trip.

Planning a trip too far ahead of time may be a thing of the past. While the chart below may look like a gradual decline in travel interest, April and May serve as averages of results from both the February and March surveys.

For example, while in India it looks like travel was highest in March at 21.20%, that was just the results from the February survey, when only 6.87% said they plan to travel in April. Flash forward to the March survey and that number jumps to 21.98% planning to travel domestically in April. More on these country-specific breakdowns later.

International travel in the next three months

As far as international travel is concerned, Malaysians have a slight edge, with 15.16% saying they plan to travel abroad. This is closely followed by Russians (15.01%) and Filipinos (15%).

While there is a huge variance for domestic travel, international travel is fairly uniform in regard to the percentage from each country planning to travel during the coming three months. This probably has more to do with uncertainty around borders, excessive flight costs and the chance of cancellations interrupting trips and leaving travellers out of pocket.

For example, Australia has a fairly good grip on COVID-19 and is fairly open, which is probably why it ranks 10th for domestic travel. Conversely, Australia has some of the toughest border security measures at the moment and is restricting the number of flights into the country, which is probably why the number of Australians travelling abroad is so low.

Image: Getty

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