Last year, specialist operator of small-group tours in England Jules Verne conducted a series of surveys that assessed customer attitudes to various aspects of travel.
At the time, the travel industry was looking at a world that was slowly re-opening following the first of three national lockdowns. It was hoped that new adventures would shortly be embarked upon – and this was borne out by the responses.
Around 36% of customers anticipated that they would travel again by Spring 2021, with 21% picking summer 2021 as their preferred option. 18% claimed that they would be getting going even sooner, in autumn of 2020, and 14% had their sights set on winter of that same year.
Around 23% of customers claimed that they would not be altering their travel plans because of the virus, while 5% of these customers said that they intended to spend even more time traveling. No one claimed that they would not travel ever again because of the virus.
The restrictions on international travel since the survey was taken have put a dampener on many of these plans, with scores of countries remaining on the so-called ‘red list’ of countries to which British citizens should not travel, and many more on the ‘amber list’ which imposes a number of restrictions on would-be travelers. Of course, domestic lockdowns in the UK have also prevented many would-be travelers from spreading their wings internationally.
Many of the respondents to the survey indicated a preference for solo travel, with 27% claiming that they would be traveling on their own over the following eighteen months. This is not a new trend, or even related to the virus; research into Google searches between 2016 and 2019 saw a 131% increase in the popularity of the term ‘solo travel’. This is in part a consequence of the rise of online conferencing software, which will have become even more mainstream thanks to surging demand for Zoom and other programs during a lockdown.
Francis Tortilla, Managing Director at Jules Verne, welcomed the survey at the time. In his comments, he was keen to emphasize how important it is for companies of this kind to gauge the public’s appetite for travel. “To say that the events of 2020 have shaped, and will continue to shape, the way we all travel is somewhat of an understatement. Click here for Villa Options
“At Jules Verne, we are delighted to see bookings begin to build again for the latter part of the year and into 2021, and we are keen to understand how our customers are feeling about their future holiday plans. This feedback is invaluable as we start to re-launch our classic itineraries and to develop new ones, creating a worldwide program of tours that best fits their changing requirements.”
With much of the UK now vaccinated, we should anticipate the summer of 2022 to be, if not a return to business as usual, a much more relaxed environment for travelers.