Almost a third of Britons are likely to take a foreign holiday in 2021, according to a new survey. The research found that 16 per cent of respondents were ‘very likely’ to book a foreign holiday and 15 per cent considered themselves ‘quite likely’ to do so.
Travel Weekly annual insight report, produced by Deloitte, sampled the responses of 1279 adults given in November 2020 – before the latest lockdown restrictions were imposed on the UK. Given the current situation these are hopeful numbers but still represent a 22 per cent drop on the same time in 2019.
Safety and Flexibility Are Key
Research also found that the 25-44 age bracket was most likely to travel abroad, with 45 per cent of parents with children especially interested in a foreign holiday. However, 53 per cent of respondents said the availability of a full refund was important to them, while 47 per cent said a flexible booking was also key.
Other findings show a marked rise in caution about different kinds of travel. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents ruled out any kind of long-haul travel before the widespread availability of a vaccine, while 52 per cent said they were more likely to drive than fly – but 48 per cent agreed that they would be fine with flying if all passengers had to take a Covid test before departure.
More than one in two (53 per cent) are worried about the presence of Covid-19 in destinations, with the biggest concerns unsurprisingly expressed by the over-65s (68 per cent). More respondents were put off by the possibility of having to self-isolate abroad (51 per cent) than having to quarantine when they got home (44 per cent).
Nearly three-quarters of all respondents (72 per cent) will book a holiday through an intermediary, while 20 per cent plan to use a high street agent – a rise of 7 per cent from 2019.
No Change in Holiday Type
Contrary to many forecasts, the research shows no significant change in the kind of holiday consumers are looking to take. Two in five (42 per cent) plan a beach holiday and one in five (19 per cent) a city break, similar to a year ago. More surprising, however, is the enduring popularity of an all-inclusive holiday, with 52 per cent of respondents expressing a desire for one; that figure rises to 65 per cent for consumers with children.
It’s been often quoted that a greater concern for sustainability will be a feature of travel post-pandemic, and the figures seem to bear this out. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of those in the 16-34 age bracket expressed concern about the impact of flying on the carbon footprint compared to 35-54 year-olds (15 per cent) and over-55s (20 per cent). But the over-55s expressed greater concern for the impact of travel on a destination (34 per cent) and whether locals benefitted from it (33 per cent).
The report sounds a more cautious note than a survey conducted by the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) in September 2020, which found that 85 per cent of respondents’ clients would consider overseas travel in 2021, with short-haul trips to Europe the most sought after by 85 per cent. However, the survey also found that refundable deposits, flexible cancellations and a quick turnaround on refunds were key priorities.