TORONTO — Virtuoso’s July travel consumer research shows that while only one-quarter to one-third of Baby Boomer and older clients are ready to travel in these unprecedented times, a strong majority of Millennial, Generation Z and Generation X clients are ready to travel post-pandemic.
The update came as part of Virtuoso Travel Week 2020, taking place virtually this week in place of the popular in-person event normally held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Presiding over the opening ceremony for Virtuoso Travel Week 2020 this morning were Virtuoso’s Chairman and CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, and David Kolner, Senior VP, Strategy.
Kolner presented the latest stats from Virtuoso’s research, conducted just last month.
Major travel trends include, not surprisingly, clients looking to stay close to home for their next vacation. Virtuoso’s client poll shows that 32.5% will opt for a domestic destination a short flight away, 23.4% will choose a multi-day road trip and 13.8% are considering a day trip within a couple hours of home.
That said, almost a third of respondents (30.3%) said their next vacation will be an international destination. Another bright spot? While cruising for 2020 is understandably down, Virtuoso’s cruise bookings for 2021 are just 6% under historical levels.
Virtuoso Travel Week 2020 continues all this week, complete with opening and closing ceremonies, training sessions and of course, networking. Participants this year can take advantage of up to 106 sessions, 10 minutes each, with industry partners they’re looking to connect with.
While many of the usual highlights at Virtuoso Travel Week will be present in a virtual format, the luxury retail travel group won’t be handing out awards this year. “We are pausing awards this year. Instead we want to thank all of you for your hard work, with everything you’re doing to survive,” said Jennifer Campbell, Virtuoso’s Product Manager, Network Engagements,
Campbell, who was instrumental in making this year’s virtual event happen, joked with participants this morning: “I know we’re all experiencing more change this year than we planned. Sometimes there’s a good side to change. At least we’re not all freezing in the ballroom at the Bellagio.”
This morning’s opening ceremony also included a discussion between Upchurch and Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The pandemic arrived just as travel and tourism was heading into an incredibly strong 10th year, says Guevara. “Over the past nine years the growth of travel and tourism has outpaced the growth of the world economy,” she told Upchurch.
In the wake of the pandemic’s devastation on the travel industry, she said governments are “finally starting to understand” the impact on this industry.
Travellers are grappling not just with fears of the virus, but also with concerns about getting stranded in destination, and mandatory and unexpected quarantines. The world’s travellers are losing confidence in travel, and what can the industry do about it?
Four things, says Guevara. “We need to have a coordinated approach with countries opening their borders. We need coordinated protocols – that’s something we learned after 9/11. From SARS, MERS and Ebola we learned the importance of testing and contact tracing. And we need support for the travel sector.”
Guevara adds: “We need to be together to get out of this. Otherwise it’s going to be very painful and take a lot longer.”
Watch for more coverage from Virtuoso Travel Week in tomorrow’s edition of Travelweek Daily.