Vaccines driving demand for summer vacations

Photos: Yannis Rizomarkos/Nick Nikolaou; Styling: Anestis Michalis

A new travel trends research paper released on June 9, 2021, by Tripadvisor® reveals that vaccine rollouts globally are driving increasing demand for summer vacations, with vaccinated travellers more likely to stay longer and spend more on their trips than unvaccinated travellers.

The report, titled A Shot in The Arm for Travel? Examining the Vaccine’s Impact on Leisure Travel Demand, provides a unique insight into emerging travel planning trends around the world by combining behavioural analysis of Tripadvisor’s 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 Singapore, exploring the latest in traveller attitudes and confidence.

The report identifies clear behavioural differences in how vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are thinking about travel, and how that is translating into travel planning behaviours on the Tripadvisor platform, with vaccinated travellers more likely to be booking vacations already, and to be planning to stay longer and spend more when they travel.

In countries like the US and the UK, where the vaccination rollout has reached large swathes of the adult population, eager travellers are pushing the tourism recovery forward. At the other end of the spectrum, countries where the vaccine rollout is at a less advanced stage and new variants of Covid-19 have impacted local populations – particularly across the Asia-Pacific region – are experiencing a slower recovery in leisure travel demand.

“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,” said Stephen Kaufer, CEO and co-founder, Tripadvisor. “If ever we needed proof that vaccines are the key to long-term recovery in the tourism sector, our latest trend data provides it. 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.”

Key findings from the report:

The vaccine has a significant impact on the demand for accommodation. Countries where the pace of the vaccination rollout is more advanced, like the US 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 – a third (32%) of vaccinated travellers globally said they had booked a domestic vacation, of whom 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, APAC travellers planning trips on Tripadvisor were overwhelmingly searching for domestic vacations. However, in the following months we see a steady shift of travellers looking to book more trips abroad.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of June vacation searches in APAC were for domestic trips, as well as 83% for trips in July and 79% looking to book a local getaway in August.

Looking ahead to the end of the year, only 60% of hotel searches in December are for domestic trips, while international hotel searches make up the rest.

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 centre 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 Hong Kong and Bangkok.

On average, vaccinated travellers plan to spend more and vacation longer than other travellers:

Globally, 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 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, 30% of travellers said they plan to spend more on their next trip.

“After such a turbulent year, many in tourism are hopeful that a busy summer will provide a much-needed boost to the tourism industry, so it’s welcome news to see the latest traveller data pointing in that direction, especially for destinations and hospitality businesses that are able to capture the growing demand for domestic vacations,” said Christopher Hsi, head of market research, Tripadvisor.

“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. 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.”

 The data cited in this release was gathered and analyzed from two key sources:

* A Tripadvisor Consumer Sentiment Survey, based on data drawn from an online survey of 2,413 consumers per survey, in partnership with Qualtrics, conducted between April 23, 2021 and April 30, 2021 across six countries – US, UK, Australia, Italy, Singapore and Japan.

* Site behavioural data sourced from first party traffic data on the Tripadvisor platform, gathered between May 4, 2020 and May 9, 2021.

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