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Chinese travellers demonstrate the strongest enthusiasm for resuming overseas travel

Chinese travellers demonstrate the strongest enthusiasm for resuming overseas travel

Long-Haul Travel Barometer 1/2021

Results from the latest Long-Haul Travel Barometer 1/2021 (LHTB) indicate a slight revitalisation in people’s intention for overseas trips between January-April 2021. However, as Europe’s entry bans are still in place, travellers’ confidence around visiting the region remains naturally low as reflected by the negative sentiment index scores[1].

The Long-Haul Travel Barometer is an initiative of the European Travel Commission and Eurail BV aimed at monitoring travel sentiment in some of the most relevant outbound travel markets for Europe – Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Key Findings:

  • China is the only market where people demonstrate a strong interest (index score of 146) to hit the road again. This is an encouraging sign for the European tourism sector to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese travel trade to ensure speedy recovery as soon as the health situation allows. Respondents, who would like to visit Europe in the first months of 2021, demonstrate a growing interest in exploring Nordic and Balkan destinations, while the desire for multiple-country trips strengthens.
  • Compared to previous research waves, the sentiment index for long-haul travel has somewhat increased in Brazil (120) and the US (127). Meanwhile, travel intentions decrease in Russia but remain positive at 118 index points. However, these results should be interpreted with caution as beyond the COVID-19 travel barriers, the gloomy economic and political situation in these countries could make it hard for consumers to materialise their travel plans.
  • Japan remains the least confident market with only 13% of surveyed respondents considering a long-haul trip in the first four months of 2021.

Fear of exposure to COVID-19 remains the major deterrent to international travel

3 in 5 of all respondents who do not plan an overseas trip between January-April 2021, outlining that the main reason behind their decision is COVID-19 safety and health concerns. This trend is especially strong among Chinese, Brazilian and US respondents.

The volatile economic environment has also prevented people from planning long-haul trips at the beginning of 2021 – a trend more apparent among Brazilian (17%) and Russian (15%) respondents.

In China and Russia, 9% and 10% of respondents, respectively, did not plan trips as they felt their travel experience might be restrained due to tourist attractions and facilities’ closure.

This project is co-funded by the European Union.

Full summary can be downloaded here

[1] Intention to travel is measured in an index that reflects the dominant sentiment expressed by a market, either a positive or negative one. The index is tied to a base of 100. Values above 100 indicate a positive evolution, whereas values below 100 indicate negative attitudes towards travel in a given time period.