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Pandemic-related travel habits will remain. More customers are making domestic trips, are booking more package tours and want greater flexibility

March 8, 2022

Speaking at the opening of the ITB Berlin Convention 2022 about future global travel behaviour, Peter Kautz, MD of Statista Q, said that many of the travel habits to have emerged due to the coronavirus pandemic would remain even after infections have subsided. He also predicted that turnover will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

Kautz was unable to make a statement on the potential future impact of the war in Ukraine. However, he stressed that around eight per cent of global travel to the warzone was currently affected. In Europe this share was around 43 per cent, due to the loss of the travel market in both European countries. At 3.2 per cent globally and 35 per cent Europe-wide, the impact on travel out of the warzone was slightly less.

Even after the pandemic, based on previous experiences with oil, financial and terror- related crises, Kautz did not expect any lasting impact on travel behaviour. However, he expected individual travel habits to change. One in two people believed that even after restrictions were lifted that in some areas things would still be different to before the pandemic. That applied to Germany, for instance, where demand for domestic travel had risen by 50 per cent compared with 2019. At the same time respondents in Germany, the US and UK said they intended to spend more on travel than before. What had also changed was the time lapse between bookings and departures. Most bookings were now made between one and four weeks before the actual trip. Following their experience during the pandemic, customers now expected more flexibility, and more transparent and uniform rules where refunds were concerned. Accordingly, interest in insurances had risen.

By contrast, the pandemic had had little impact on online bookings. Kautz said they now accounted for 76 per cent, with no particularly sharp rises over the last two years. Climate change had not had any significant effect on travel behaviour. Although more than 60 per cent of customers expected it to have an influence, only 25 per cent had changed their habits accordingly. Whether that was because the market had little to offer or because deeds had not yet followed words, Kautz was unable to say.