Two-thirds of those considering international travel in the next 3 months likely to drop plans & bookings
- ● New coronavirus mutations and related flight bans cited as key driver
- ● 18% consumers are planning to undertake domestic travel in the next 3 months, while another 34% want to travel but are evaluating the Covid situation
December 28, 2020, New Delhi: With the outbreak of the new mutant coronavirus B.1.1.7 detected in the United Kingdom, its Government has imposed Tier 4 lockdowns across affected areas of the country. A report from the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says this mutant coronavirus is 56% more transmissible than other strains. The B.1.1.7 mutation of Coronavirus has been detected in other countries such as South Africa, Netherlands, Denmark and Australia, besides the UK but the virus’ spread in the UK is significant with over 50% of the cases reported now are of this new mutation. The news has spread across the world again with some experts even calling it Covid-20 and a cause for worry at a time when vaccination drives have just begun in several countries. The news prompted nations such as Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, along with India and other countries to halt flights and travel to and from the UK, to avoid the outbreak of the mutant coronavirus B.1.1.17. India’s ban on flights from and to the UK commenced on Dec 23rd, 2020 and is currently on till Dec 31st, 2020. It must be noted that post lockdown, the Government of India hasn’t yet allowed regular operation of international flights, instead it operates transport bubbles with 23 countries, including the UK via the Vande Bharat Mission.
LocalCircles has conducted a survey to understand the impact of this new strain of coronavirus on international travel plans of Indians in the next 3 months. The platform has observed an increase in citizens’ posts suggesting that many may hold back on their travel plans to any international countries as fear and anxiety of getting infected by this new strain as well as the possibility of flight bans from other airline hubs like Dubai, Singapore, Paris, etc. has increased. The survey also tried to understand people’s plan to undertake domestic travel in the next 3 months as with reducing case-loads and Covid fatigue setting in, many more have started to travel since October. The survey received more than 15,000+ responses from consumers located across 204 districts of India.
The first question that asked consumers “What is your situation in regard to undertaking international travel in the next 3 months”, received 7,820 responses. 71% of consumers said that they have no plans to undertake international travel in the next 3 months. Only 2% said they have bookings and will likely travel, while another 2% said they have bookings but may cancel based on Covid situation. Further, 16% said they had plans but will likely not travel due to Covid, while 7% said they might travel based on Covid situation. The aggregate feedback of consumers suggest that the new virus strain that was recently detected in the UK and related flight bans, the majority planning international travel in the next 3 months are likely to hold back.
With the new virus strain and related flight bans, majority planning international travel in the next 3 months likely to hold back
When only the consumers considering international travel were surveyed – while keeping the 71% consumers who had no plans to undertake international travels in the next 3 months out of scope, it appears that of the 100% consumers who were considering international travel, 59% of them who had “plans but no bookings” will likely not travel, and 7% who had bookings will cancel those bookings and not travel. 8% who have international travel bookings already will likely travel and another 26% who do not have bookings will likely plan their international travel in the next 3 months based on how the Covid situation develops. So only if those consumers considering international travel were considered, 66% of them are likely to not plan or cancel their booking considering the mutant Coronavirus developments and related flight bans.
Two thirds of those planning international travel in the next 3 months may not travel due to new virus strain and related flight bans
Meanwhile, India opened domestic air and train travel as early as June, and gradually all States lifted inter-state travel. Though a lot of people were hesitant early on, slowly with business activity resuming travel picked up a bit towards the festive season and as the daily caseload of India declined from 75,000 to 25,000 between early October and early December, many more started planning and booking their travels for the coming months. To understand how people plan to travel in the next 3 months, consumers were asked, “What is your situation in regard to undertaking domestic travel in the next 3 months?” Of 7,960 responses received, 8% said “Have bookings and will travel”, 3% said “Have bookings but may cancel based on Covid situation, 10% said “Don’t have bookings but planning to book soon and travel”, 34% said “Want to travel but still evaluating Covid situation”, 42% though said “Have no plans at all”, while 3% voted “Can’t Say”. The aggregate feedback of consumers suggests 18% of them are planning to undertake domestic travel in the next 3 months, while 34% want to travel but are evaluating based on the current Covid situation.
18% consumers plan to undertake domestic travel in the next 3 months; additional 34% want to but still evaluating the Covid situation
If India stays ahead of the curve, imposes necessary restrictions on international flights and is successful in preventing mutant coronavirus from spreading in India and the case-loads continue their downward trajectory, many of those in the 34% “want to travel” will likely do so leading to sizable uptick in the domestic travel and hotel industry.
Overall, the survey indicates that the mutant coronavirus and related flight bans have led to 66% of consumers planning international travel in the next 3 months to hold back. However, if India is able to contain the spread of Covid and the new virus mutations, domestic travel is likely to be strong. And if that happens, it seems likely that many might cancel their trip to Switzerland in favour of Dalhousie or Kashmir.
The survey received more than 15,000+ responses from 10,000+ unique citizens located across 204 districts of India. 64% respondents were men while 36% respondents were women. 61% respondents were from tier 1, 23% from tier 2 and 16% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.