Survey: International travel sees 88 percent jump since 2021

Destination preferences continue to lean toward out-of-the-way places in the open air with fewer people

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More than half of travelers, or 52 percent, admit that COVID-19 infection, its variants or quarantine is still their number one international travel fear, followed by trip cancellation, according to a survey by travel risk and crisis response provider Global Rescue.

NEARLY HALF OF travelers, or 49 percent, have already taken an international trip, according to a survey by travel risk and crisis response provider Global Rescue. That indicates an 88 percent jump in travel abroad since summer of 2021.

The Winter 2022 Global Rescue Travel Safety and Sentiment survey has also revealed that domestically, 85 percent of respondents have already traveled, signaling an 18 percent increase during the period.

The survey of more than 1,400 respondents between Jan. 25 to 29 found that nine out of 10 travelers are “much less or less” concerned about travel since the pandemic, showing a 22 percent increase in travel confidence.

“All signals are pointing to the beginning of the end of international travel restrictions due to the pandemic. Countries like New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and others are opening their borders as severe COVID-19 illnesses and hospitalizations decline, vaccinations increase and testing is more convenient. Domestic travel continues to increase but the big news is that travel abroad is surging,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue. “When people feel safe, they travel and we are seeing tremendous, positive change in the traveler confidence about their well-being.”

As many as 76 percent of respondents are planning more outdoor, remote travel. That’s a 40 percent increase compared to traveler responses nearly a year ago. A majority of travelers, 82 percent, indicated they are planning more trips lasting five or more days, the survey stated.

According to the survey, 47 percent of respondents said they feel safest when vaccinated, 20 percent feel safest when they have recovered from COVID followed by having medical evacuation protection. Still, another 17 percent feel better visiting uncrowded destinations or doing outdoor activities.

However, more than half of travelers, 52 percent, admit that COVID-19 infection, its variants or quarantine is still their number one travel fear, followed by 17 percent who said trip cancellation and 16 percent who said having an accident or sustaining an injury were their worst fears.

The survey noted that 62 percent of respondents identified medical evacuation protection for rescue from point of injury or illness, including COVID-19, as their preferred protection, up 17 percent from last year. Cancel For Any Reason trip insurance was the second most important protection at 15 percent and transport from treating medical facility to home or home hospital of choice was third most important at 10 percent.

About 38 percent of people surveyed believe current COVID-19 restrictions are “impossibly strict” or “unnecessarily strict,” while 44 percent say the restrictions are “just right.” Less than a fifth, 17 percent, say the restrictions are “too lenient.”

Last year, a Global Rescue survey revealed that travelers are significantly less concerned about safety during travel, driving a significant rebound in travel activity.