Travel confidence is rebounding, according to a recent survey by Global Rescue, the travel risk, crisis management and response company.
Fear of Covid-19 infection or quarantine has decreased by 37 per cent, as compared to one year ago, its Traveller Sentiment and Safety Survey found. In addition, 78 per cent of respondents said they were "less" or "much less" concerned about travel safety in 2021, compared to 2020, with only 22 per cent saying they were "more" or "much more" concerned.
At the same time, 54 per cent said they would avoid crowded destinations and 22 per cent cited insufficient medical facilities as the leading reason for avoiding specific areas.
“Travellers are twice as likely to plan international trips within the next six months as they were in September 2020,” says Dan Richards, chief executive of Global Rescue. “Nearly three-quarters of surveyed travellers have already taken a domestic trip or are planning to take one before July.”
To boost traveller confidence, Richards is encouraging government health officials to further develop capabilities to identify, detect and respond to Covid-19 and other emerging pathogenic threats.
“By leveraging improvements in technology, including tools that detect active infection of Covid-19 and emerging diseases on exhaled breath, we can effectively recover from, and prevent, disease spread while boosting and protecting the travel and hospitality industry,” says Richards, who also serves on the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at the US Department of Commerce.
The Global Rescue survey found that 91 per cent of respondents would submit to rapid on-site Covid-19 testing before travel, with 80 per cent saying they would be willing to pay for the test, dependent on cost.
The issue of vaccine passports was more divisive. When it comes to domestic travel, 46 per cent of those surveyed were for the use of vaccine certificates, while 42 per cent were against. A larger number – 70 per cent – was in favour of the use of vaccine passports for international travel.
The issue of centralising vaccination and testing data also split respondents, with 45 per cent preferring that proof-of-vaccination and Covid-19 testing results be maintained by the individual, rather than a centralised organisation. Meanwhile, 16 per cent said they do not want the data to be collected at all.
“Government officials must take a leadership role in recommending secure technology standards where users, rather than centralised organisations, store and control data used for vaccine, previous infection and testing verification for Covid-19 and future disease outbreaks,” Richards says.