G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip said consumers are “willing to commit” to booking a holiday this year as the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Poon Tip said the adventure operator could “see the return of travel” in the coming months, during an online talk on the impact of the coronavirus crisis, called “The Year the Earth Stood Still”.
“We’re seeing movement – countries are really trying to have a summer,” he added. “Bookings are returning. Agency sales are picking up and everybody is hopeful for summer.”
Poon Tip welcomed moves such as the EU’s digital green certificate that was revealed earlier this week and called for standardised vaccine passports or certificates across the world rather than every country having its own format of vaccination proof.
“There’s going to be this tipping point – European countries are pushing for borders to reopen this summer,” he added.
G Adventures has managed to continue running some trips over the winter despite ever-changing border and lockdown restrictions – the company has operated move than 100 trips since September.
“There’s a positive feeling right now. People are talking about travel again which is what we need,” he said.
Poon Tip said they were two kinds of customers at the moment – those who booked seven-to-eight months in advance of departure and another group who wanted to book only one month before travel.
A survey by G Adventures found 59% of travellers globally wanted to travel more than they did pre-Covid because of the lockdowns they have had to endure over the past year.
While 77% of consumers had yet to book an international holiday and 38% said they would book just one month in advance of travel.
Around a third of travellers (31%) said they would travel within three months of being vaccinated with this figure rising to 48% for travel within six months of receiving a Covid vaccine.
Poon Tip said these findings showed the “pent-up demand” for travel across the operator’s markets.
“We’re trying to get trips off in the summer this year,” he added. “We thought it could be May and June but that’s not going to happen in a big way as a lot of countries are not going to have their borders open.
“Countries are pushing 1 July but it’s 1 September when we anticipate larger and more meaningful numbers.”