IATA survey shows frustrations are mounting among air travellers

Travel confidence is back, says Flight Centre Travel Group survey

TORONTO — Traveller confidence is up significantly from just a few months ago, says a new survey by Flight Centre Travel Group, with results showing a distinct shift in positive sentiments across all key touchpoints.

The survey, which saw close to 2,000 Canadians respond in June 2021, followed up on a similar survey done in November 2020. Results show that excitement towards travel is way up and that the vast majority of respondents are definitely planning to travel in 2022.

Among the surprising trends the travel agency has found is that Canadians are not waiting until the last minute to book their trips, despite frequent changes and varying travel restrictions worldwide. More than one-third of travellers are booking 3-5 months in advance of their departure, suggesting that concerns regarding sudden cancellations or changes is no longer a substantial deterrent.

Michelle Suggett, VP of Retail Operations for Flight Centre Travel Group (Canada) says she’s not surprised by the results, given what travel agents on the ground are currently experiencing.

“There has been significant demand in inquiry and bookings as more and more people get vaccinated,” she says. “That, combined with more than a year and a half of restrictions and border closures, is now translating into bookings as consumer confidence lifts.”

Key findings of the survey include the following:

  • When asked how people are “feeling” right now about travel, those that are “excited” has seen a 254% increase since November 2020, in which only 13% of people at that time provided that response. Correspondingly, those “worried” about travel saw a reduction from 47% in November to just 14.6% last month.
  • 67.2% of those surveyed said that the progress of Canada’s vaccination program has made them more confident to travel. Given the survey was completed when only 10% to 15% of Canadians were fully vaccinated, consumer confidence is expected to grow as the vaccination program continues progress.
  • 79% of respondents say they will “definitely” or “probably” travel to countries accepting fully vaccinated travellers in the next 12 months.
  • 38% are planning to travel in the next 1-3 months, a sharp increase from the November 2020 survey results in which just 16% of respondents felt the same.
  • Overall, 85% of customers expect to travel equal or more than they did in 2019 (i.e. pre-COVID)​
  • In terms of which destinations people plan to travel to first internationally, 68% of respondents are planning to go to Mexico and the Caribbean with the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic and Jamaica seeing the most demand within the region. 42% are planning to go to Europe.
  • From a product standpoint, the return of cruise travel is definitive though not in short-term bookings. Specifically, May to September 2022 encompasses the largest share of future cruise bookings. 

Several surveys in recent weeks have indicated upward trends in consumer travel sentiment. For the results from Travelweek’s 2021 Consumer Survey, click here.