Travel intention increases 25pts compared to 2021.
Bangkok, Thailand – Europ Assistance (“EA”) announced the international findings of their 21st edition of the Holiday Barometer. Travel expectations are increasing significantly compared to last year, with levels higher than in 2019. Overall, 69% of Thais intend to travel from June to September, which represents a 25pts increase compared to 2021.
Julia Ricks, Head of International Travel at Europ Assistance Group says “This year’s travel intentions reflect a real excitement for travel, overpassing pre-pandemics levels. Compared to 2021, we observe a significant return to international travel and higher average holiday budgets, supported by a significant decrease in covid-19 related issues that favors airplane trips and destinations like cities.”
“Ongoing inflation hasn’t stopped but contained this travel enthusiasm after two years of restrictions, but inflation is the most significant travel concern this year. Booking anticipations and the importance of being more covered with a trip insurance appears as new habits of holidaymakers that could become durable,” Julia added.
Average holiday budget should be higher than in 2021, but this increase is limited by the inflation context
Holidaymakers report a higher travel budget this year than they did in 2021: Americans intend to spend an additional $440, for a global budget of around $2,760 (+19% vs 2021). In Europe, the expected holiday budget is around €1,800 (+220€, +14% vs 2021). And the holiday budget Thais intend to spend strongly increased vs 2021 by 18% (62,800 THB).
Concerns about inflation and prices increases are much present in peoples’ mind in 2022 and impact desire to travel this year: it is the case for 69% of Europeans, 62% of Americans, 70% of Canadians, 63% of Australians and 77% of Thais, who say being impacted by this issue. Moreover, financial considerations are mentioned as one of the main reasons not to travel by 41% of Europeans who won’t be going on a trip from June to September (+14pts vs 2021), 45% of Americans (+9pts) and 34% of Thais (+10pts).
While Covid-19 is still a consideration for travelers, it has receded as a concern
Overall, the global level of concerns regarding all covid-19 related topics is decreasing compared to last year, especially on travel and leisure plans. For 53% of Europeans and 46% of Americans, COVID-19 has an impact on their enthusiasm regarding travel. It is still particularly high among the Canadians or the Aussies (60%) and even more among the Thai population (81%).
When they think about their next trip, health issues have still the greatest impact on the Thai respondents’ enthusiasm, followed closely by inflation, even thou the level of concern regarding covid-19 related topics is decreasing. When travelling, Thais are still willing to carefully pick their destination by avoiding certain countries and favoring close destinations. However, the level of caution decreased strongly vs 2021
When thinking about their next trip, Thai respondents still feel concerned about issues related to the sanitary crisis, but to a lesser extent than last year. The desire to travel internationally drove the will to get vaccinated.
This decrease in covid-19 related concerns leads to a significantly higher attractivity of cities even if in Thailand, cities still remain far behind seaside (58% vs 37%), countryside and mountain as travel destination.
In almost all countries observed, the average levels of booking anticipation raise, with far more people booking their holidays sooner than last year than people doing it later. Holidaymakers from Thailand are among the most organized, as more than 50% have already booked at least part of their trip
Covid-19 may also have impacted durably travel insurance habits, as being more covered with travel insurance is the travel habit that appears to be the most durable in almost all countries surveyed. These levels are especially high in Asia Pacific (Thailand 75%, Australia 54%), in UK (49%) or in Southern Europe (Spain 50%, Italy and Portugal 45%).
The boost of international travel
Above all, a return to international travel is observed in all the countries: 48% (+13pts) of Europeans, 36% (+11pts) of Americans and 56% (+7pts) of Thais intend to travel abroad from June to September. It is particularly the case in the countries where holidaymakers are more used to travel abroad: British (+24 pts), Swiss (+7pts) and Belgians (+7pts) will be less homey and will travel more internationally.
When choosing to travel abroad, Thai holidaymakers mostly opt for neighboring countries with favorite destinations being Japan followed by South Korea and Singapore. Weather and already knowing the destination are the most important criteria to choose the destination for Thai respondents. They also plan to choose their destination according to the health risk, inclusive of coronavirus infection.
As international travel increases, holidaymakers adjust their mode of transportation. Overall, the two favorite means remain the plane and the car (respectively 46% and 45% of Thais prefer these two modes of transportation). Train or bus are still used by a minority of the population.
Back to normal?
When asked about the return to “normal conditions” of travel, perceptions vary a lot from one country to another. Thais, Australians and Austrians are the most pessimistic, with half of the population thinking situation will come back to normal in 2024, after, or even never. On the contrary, Poles, Czech or Swiss are the most optimistic, with nearly 4 out of 10 saying it is already possible.
But covid-19 may have changed habits for the active population. Indeed, one quarter to one third of the active population declare that they will be working from a holiday location (“workation”). It is particularly true among Thais (70%).
As international travel recovers, Europ Assistance Group launched an international social media campaign supported by 3 videos based on our customers' real stories. This campaign is supported by hashtag #FromDistressToRelief. The point of this campaign to raise awareness on the importance of having the right partner to benefit from seamless travel medical assistance worldwide, and the expertise of our medical staff and medical partners.
The 2022 edition of the Holiday Barometer from Europ Assistance and Ipsos was conducted in 15 countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Thailand and Australia. In each country, 1,000 consumers aged 18 years and older took part in an online questionnaire. The survey was conducted between April 26th and May 16th and investigated consumer holiday plans and travel preferences.