A survey by Collinson has revealed that 93 per cent of leisure travellers from the UK plan to travel abroad by air over the next 12 months. Jenny Southan reports

Collinson, the global end-to-end travel experiences, airport services and travel medical company, has conducted a survey of 2,010 UK respondents who travelled by air in 2021 for leisure and/or business, revealing most UK travellers now feel optimistic about international travel.

According to the study, 93 per cent of leisure travellers plan to travel abroad by air for leisure over the course of the year ahead and 84 per cent of business travellers plan to travel abroad by air for business in the next six months.

The findings also highlight that 43 per cent of travellers have put money aside during the pandemic specifically for future travel.

Both the frequency of trips and consumer spend are likely to increase over the next year, with 44 per cent of travellers intending to travel abroad more frequently post-Covid-19 and 46 per cent reporting that they’ll spend more money on travel this year than they would have prior to the pandemic.

Consumers are also set to prioritise international travel over physical products during the next year, with 63 per cent of travellers reporting that they would rather spend money on a holiday this year than material items.

The prospect of travelling again was a key motivator for Brits during the pandemic and 63 per cent say that travel means more to them now than it did before the pandemic.

David Evans, joint CEO at Collinson, says: “It’s incredibly exciting to see the rebound in traveller confidence. We’re starting to see green shoots, as people look to re-capture the magic of travelling abroad.

“They’ve saved up for trips, and now it’s up to us, as an industry, to continue making that experience enjoyable and efficient for them.

“One of the aspects of travel that we lost during the pandemic was that seamless, end-to-end experience that people crave when travelling, and it’s really important that we, as an industry, continue to work together to re-build traveller enjoyment.”

Passenger nervousness

Whilst 39 per cent of travellers are now no longer nervous to travel internationally because of changing Covid-19 guidelines, 38 per cent still are, and what’s more, 48 per cent of travellers are concerned about losing money because of Covid-related cancellations.

Almost half (48 per cent) of travellers admit that flying this year will be more stressful than last year – a 10 per cent percentage point increase on those who flagged that travel in 2020 would be much more stressful than in the past.

“As an industry, we need to come together to mitigate these concerns,” says Evans. “Just under half of travellers admitted that their decision to book a trip would be influenced by more flexible re-booking policies or Covid-19 insurance as standard.

“Travellers are clearly taking their owns steps to be able to travel with confidence, with 61 per cent of travellers reporting they are now more likely to buy travel insurance today than before the pandemic – and 74 per cent are more likely to read the terms and conditions to check it provides them with the cover they need.

“Organisations that can cater to these needs and make travel easy, rewarding and enjoyable will be well placed for the great travel recovery this year.”

Despite increased traveller confidence, health and safety remains hugely important to consumers, with three quarters of travellers (75 per cent) flagging they’d still like to see clear health and safety measures in place at airports.

“Furthermore, 66 per cent wanted socially distanced spaces to sit in, and 27 per cent would pay for airport lounge access to improve their wellbeing at the airport, showing that many people are prioritising their wellbeing and taking time out to relax during the journey.

“There’s still a long way for the travel industry to go, if we’re to recover the pace, excitement and ease of travel pre-pandemic, but there have also been a lot of lessons learnt. I’m confident that together, we can bring a better experience to travellers, and get the world moving safely again,” says Evans.

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE