As travellers in Asia long for the resumption of global travel, new research from Collinson expects travel to return to pre-COVID levels by 2023. The survey, carried out in April 2021 by Collinson in partnership with Centre for Aviation (CAPA), highlights that global herd immunity is a key driver of the return to normality, and yet, because of public resistance to the vaccine in certain locations, coupled with vaccine inequality, this will take a considerably long time.
30% of experts in Asia Pacific believed herd immunity would be reached in the United States, UK, and a select few developed nations. By contrast, 27% believed a handful of smaller nations would do so, with the rest of the world, including the US and the UK failing to do so. Only 16% believed that most countries in the developed world would achieve herd immunity by next year.
In regards to leisure and shorter-haul travel, a high number of respondents believed that leisure travel would recover significantly faster than business travel, while in both categories, shorter-haul flights will make a faster comeback. The report says members of the travel ecosystem should continue to prioritize the mental and physical well-being of travellers by ensuring there are spaces for them to de-stress and relax during their journey.
The outlook for business travel markets remains weak. For short-haul flights, 31% expect to see 41-60% of 2019 levels next year, while 35% of respondents expect long-haul business travel in 2022 will be only 20-40% of 2019 levels. The report recommends that companies should act now to equip their employees with the necessary tools for a safe return to global travel, including robust travel-risk management policies.
75% respondents shared the view that vaccine passports were of vital importance as governments won’t re-open borders without them. Only 18% said they were not important, as some governments will allow access regardless of digital health documents. A further 7% said they were not relevant, compared to other issues such as mutual recognition of vaccines. The report pointed out that Asia Pacific respondents were overwhelmingly concerned by reports of fraudulent COVID-19 test results and vaccination passports surfacing, with only 6% saying they were not concerned.
As such, Collinson is supporting the development of accredited testing solutions, along with Verify, CommonPass and IATA, including the piloting of digital health passports aimed at reducing the chance of fraudulent activity – while expediting the safe return of global travel.
Todd Handcock, Asia Pacific President, Collinson, says the global travel recovery won’t be immediate, but there is a unique opportunity to make things better than ever before by working together to evolve current practices. “This joint research with CAPA has helped shine a light on the areas that require immediate, combined focus and effort from government bodies and private organizations, particularly those in the travel ecosystem – in order to remove this remaining barriers and help achieve the safe, long-term return of global travel.”
Derek Sadubin, CAPA Managing Director, said they are delighted to be working with Collinson, a global leader in traveller experiences, to better understand how the aviation and travel market is rapidly evolving. “Surveying the viewers of CAPA Live, now the biggest virtual aviation conference in the world, always yields fascinating insights. This is a high-level, savvy and switched-on group of aviation and travel industry professionals, so their views carry weight.”