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International Travel Is Making a Major Comeback
According to the Spring 2022 edition of Global Rescue’s ‘Traveler Safety and Sentiment Survey’, many of the world’s most seasoned travelers are returning to international trip-taking now right, despite the fact that there’s the war being waged in Eastern Europe and there’s still a risk that new COVID-19 variants of concern will emerge.
After more than two years of pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions, avid travelers are done waiting for their next overseas getaway. It seems avid travelers have reached their limit and are ready to take on the world, whatever the consequences.
“Now more than ever, people want to travel. Many (27 percent) travelers expect to spend extra time or more money—or both—on upcoming vacations to compensate for the two-year pandemic-induced travel moratorium,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, a leading provider of integrated medical, security, travel risk and crisis management services, and a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Travelers see the best window for international travel is now. They’re not going to miss it despite government policy hurdles, remaining coronavirus fears or military conflict in Eastern Europe,” Richards added.
The vast majority of international travelers surveyed (84 percent) said that they’re “less” or “much less” concerned about the safety of traveling today than they were at the start of the pandemic.
Over three-quarters (78 percent) of participants polled said that the threat of a new COVID-19 variant is “not likely” or “not at all likely” to prompt them to cancel or postpone their international travel plans this year. A similar percentage of respondents (71 percent) reported being “somewhat concerned” or “not concerned” about venturing abroad because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Experts are anticipating that international travel in 2022 will finally meet, and possibly surpass, pre-pandemic levels. “People are going to travel in record numbers this year,” Richards said, referencing the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) recently released international travel forecasts for 2022.
The survey’s findings suggest that many people are already traveling overseas. Over half of respondents (56 percent) reported that they’ve traveled internationally since the start of the pandemic, marking a 33 percent increase over the number of folks who said the same six months ago. Sixteen percent of participants said that they expect to travel abroad by the end of June 2022, and another 16 percent are planning to travel internationally before the end of the year.
Survey results also revealed that cruise-goers’ comfort levels have changed dramatically. In Summer 2021, 74 percent of participants said that they would not feel safe going on a cruise, but only 10 percent reported that they still would feel unsafe now, which constitutes a seven-fold decrease in concerns about cruising.
Finally, Global Rescue’s Spring 2022 Traveler Safety and Sentiment Survey also found that over three-quarters have outdoor activities and adventure trips planned in 2022, while 44 percent are opting for relaxing vacation getaways; 33 percent are planning reunions with family and friends; 18 percent intend to go on educational trips; 12 percent will travel for weddings, honeymoons or anniversaries; eight percent will be taking cruise-based trips and two percent will be traveling for genealogical/ancestral research purposes.