Europeans excited to travel internationally after lockdown eases

02 June 2020 3 min. read

When the Covid-19 lockdown finally ends, many Europeans are cautiously preparing to make the most of their returning right to travel. A poll of more than 4,000 would-be vacationers found that of nine major economies, Germany and the UK have the highest number of people looking to travel internationally post-coronavirus.

Businesses centring on travel and hospitality have suffered a terrible start to 2020. With the global outbreak of coronavirus, and the international lockdown ushered in to slow its spread, every aspect of the global leisure sector has been battered by Covid-19-related headwinds.

In the airline segment for example, over 80% of the planes of among others Air France, Lufthansa, KLM and Iberia have been grounded amid the coronavirus lockdown, with the number of passengers falling by 90%. Meanwhile, hotels in European countries such as Spain, Greece, Italy and France have been forced to close their doors to new guests – leaving many already struggling companies with no choice but to appoint administrators.

Now, as Europe seems to be getting a handle on the pandemic, and slowing the spread of Covid-19, lockdown measures are easing across the continent. The news will come as a breath of fresh air for the crumbling tourist industry and numerous airlines currently teetering on the brink of collapse – especially as a new study from Oliver Wyman suggests a majority of citizens in nine leading economies plan to vacation somewhere beyond their house as soon as they can.

Europeans excited to travel internationally after lockdown eases

According Oliver Wyman’s global poll of 4,600 travellers, 54% of UK respondents are looking to travel internationally for their next leisure trip, once restrictions are lifted. Elsewhere, 40% said they would travel domestically, though only 15% said they would travel to an urban locale – suggesting they may harbour reservations about the spread of the virus in such a place, though apparently the majority of Brits are not so concerned about being hit by a second coronavirus wave while sat at the airport.

The UK’s enthusiasm for travel is almost matched by Germany, where 52% of those surveyed plan to take an international trip after lockdown ends. A large portion of 42% of people in France said the same – possibly because those countries have had marginally better luck preventing the spread of Covid-19, which will likely have boosted confidence to travel among their citizens post-pandemic. While the UK is a clear exception to that rule, the hypothesis does seem to fit with Spanish and Italian respondents.

Respondents from Italy (28%), Spain (29%) and the US (32%) were more reserved with their plans for international holidays. Conversely, meanwhile, China’s citizens seem to still be staying cautious despite their country’s success in tackling coronavirus’ first wave. This may be due to a fall in trust of the government, which initially tried to cover up the outbreak. Ultimately, however, no country of the nine examined saw even 10% of consumers say they would be staying home during their next vacation.

Oliver Wyman partner Jessica Stansbury said of the findings, “Though the timing of the return to travel is dependent on when government authorities deem it safe, the desire to travel is strong and comfort levels are surprisingly high. This pent-up demand for leisure travel will spark the initial recovery of the industry.”