A recent survey conducted by the Flight Centre Travel Group shows how Covid-19 has changed how South Africans travel.
Flight Centre revealed that 7 978 respondents took part in its survey conducted in February 2021. The majority of respondents were between 35 and 54 years of age and female. Thirty-three of the respondents said they were frequent local travellers before Covid-19, with 42% travelling occasionally; 19% of the respondents were frequent international travellers, with 35% travelling overseas occasionally.
Most survey respondents stated that they still want to travel internationally in 2021, provided there is booking flexibility and that health and safety protocols are in place.
The flexibility to cancel or change a booking is non-negotiable, the survey reveals. Around 31% of respondents reported that they won’t book a trip unless they know they can cancel or postpone it easily and get their money back, while 21% said they would like to travel but were hesitant with all the complexities. Another 15% said they were not sure if they’re comfortable travelling just yet, while 13% said they were already travelling; it just takes more planning. Only 9% of respondents said they wouldn’t travel until vaccinated.
Price is no longer the most significant factor of consideration for rand-conscious South Africans. The flexibility to cancel or change their booking without paying penalties, health and safety protocols, and the destination’s entry requirements are now the three most important factors that South African travellers would consider before travelling internationally.
While most respondents stated that they would like to holiday internationally next year, only 46% of survey respondents said they would book a 2021 international holiday now. The remaining respondents cited Covid-19, uncertainty and risk, and finances as deterrents to booking international travel at the moment.
Only 14% of respondents deemed price the most important deciding factor for their holiday, 9% opted for the destination or experience itself, with only 5% saying the most important factor would be how long it takes to get there.
Andrew Stark, managing director for Flight Centre Travel Group Middle East and Africa, said domestic travel on both the business and leisure fronts will remain in high demand for the next two years
“Leisure travel will boom before corporate travel. No doubt there will be significant pent-up demand as the world gets vaccinated and when international flight schedules resume fully, and borders reopen without entry regulations such as enforced quarantines,” he said.
Flight Centre has stated that 85% of customers now book, pay and travel in the same month, a figure 70% higher than in pre-Covid-19 times.