Asia specialist operator Inside Travel Group has reported a “reassuring” desire by consumers to plan future trips - in spite of what its co-founder branded government’s "destructive policy towards international travel".
The company, which runs InsideJapan and InsideAsia, has released the results of its 2021 Travel Sentiment Survey, quizzing 2,400 members of its database in late spring.
The survey found 42% of respondents were likely to spend more on their next international trip than they would usually – up from 31% last summer.
Research also revealed 40% of respondents are expecting to travel in winter 2021, while most foresee their next international long-haul trip taking place in spring 2022.
56% surveyed indicated they are “very or somewhat likely" to book their next long-haul holiday with a tour operator and nearly 80% of respondents were “very likely” to plan a trip to Japan “within the next couple of years” – up from 77% in 2020.
Another destination performing highly was Singapore, with more than a third surveyed looking to plan a trip, while South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam were also slated as possible next destinations for 25% of respondents.
James Mundy, Inside Travel Group’s PR and partnerships manager, said the operator’s research showed there is "some hope" to be gained despite the UK’s traffic light system "causing problems" for the travel sector.
“It’s clear that after all the problems caused at the beginning of the pandemic – for example, people being forced to make sudden returns home from abroad – and after the more recent holiday rollercoaster of the UK government’s traffic lights, people are recognising the benefits of travelling with a tour operator or agent,” he said.
Mundy admitted that as the study was a database of those who had shown interest in Inside Travel Group’s destinations, the results were “all very Asia” – but added how the latest survey marked the first time a trip to Japan had proven more popular than choosing the ‘staycation in my own country’ option, “demonstrating people’s intent to travel abroad”.
Inside Travel Group’s co-founder, Alastair Donnelly, added that “even with the pandemic and destructive government policy towards travel” it was heartening “to see that there is a clear appetite to travel, and travel soon”.
“It is not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’,” he said. “The consumer is protected. They must be encouraged to book now to travel later to help the industry.”
Donnelly maintained that although Inside Travel Group had not experienced the same booking volumes it would usually expect, the operator was seeing “bigger bookings” and average spend rising.
“People seem to want to make the next long-haul trip a big one, and they are not afraid to pay for it,” he said, adding how “just under 70%” of the company’s postponed bookings from 2020 had rebooked for 2021 and again for 2022.