About a week ago, LHA Travel sought to understand how international travelers are coming to terms with the coronavirus outbreak by sending out a survey to a focus group of approximately 50 international travelers. Due to the small sample size, the focus group was not intended to represent the entire global travel population. However, we did cultivate a global response pool including those from North and South America, Asia, and Europe.  While the focus group did also include both business and pleasure travelers and a variety of travel methods, the intention of the survey was not to assess the spread of various types of international travel.  Instead, the intention of this surgery was to understand the current traveler’s general feelings and mindset towards travel (generally) and international travel (specifically) as a result of the current COVID-19 situation. 

Nearly 41% of those we queried have cancelled an international trip in the past month. Only 27.8% of those we queried did not have travel plans (domestic or international) that were disrupted as a result of coronavirus. 

When asked how the pandemic has changed their mindset on travel, 78% of the respondents stated that they will continue to travel to varying degrees. A small, but substantial minority states that this pandemic has ruined their desire to travel abroad. Below is the break-down of the results: 

  • 30% said cannot wait to see the world as soon as restrictions are lifted
  • 24% said they will continue to travel, but less so than before pandemic
  • 24% said their views remain unchanged
  • 22% said they have no more plans to go abroad after this is over
  • 6% said they will make an effort to travel even more than before

Of those who will travel again, 57% of those queried stated that the expected date range of their return to travel is from June to December, 2020.  This question did not include the condition that a vaccination for the virus has been found.

Additionally, we found some correlation between the frequency of the respondent’s travel, and their willingness for travel post-coronavirus. We grouped frequency of travel into three categories: frequent travelers (6+ international trips in the past two years), regular travelers (3-5 international trips in the past two years), and occasional travelers (0-2 international trips in the past two years).  The following chart breaks down the responses of the travelers based on the frequency of their travels. 

Our survey seems to show alternating responses to the pandemic without a clear drive towards or against travel among the respondents. Those turned off from travel stands at 22% while those inspired to return to travel stands at about 36%. If this small focus group’s response at this time in the progression of the pandemic is any indication of the international traveler’s mindset, the pandemic has not produced a “herd” response for or against future travel. 

Nearly all respondents agreed that information was an important concern for their future travels. Over 92 percent of respondents we queried responding positively to the importance of getting good travel restriction, visa, and vaccination information in the future. Moreover, frequent travelers consistently rank relevant information as the “most important” consideration for future travels — nearly 100% of the time. 

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