INDIA: As domestic travel in India begins its recovery following the second COVID-19 spike, new research from Collinson, a global end-to-end travel experiences, airport services, and travel medical company, has found that quarantine and testing remain a key concern for travelers in relation to international travel. Through analyzing and comparing data collected from a total of 18.5k travelers in late 2019 (pre-pandemic) with data collected from 12,607 travelers in late 2020 (during the pandemic), the findings reveal that while physical wellbeing has been at the forefront of discussions around the recovery of the travel sector, travelers are now just as worried about their mental wellbeing as they are about their physical wellbeing.
Societal awareness of the importance of mental health has increased sharply over the past few years, including the impact of travel on our mental wellbeing. 84% of Indian respondents have said they’ll be prioritizing their mental wellbeing more when they travel now than they did before COVID-19. While there was already a concern amongst travelers about the impact journeys were having on their physical wellbeing, 58% of respondents from India went on to say the pandemic had heightened these concerns. Despite there is a pent-up demand for travel, over two-thirds (67%) of travelers think travel post-pandemic will be more stressful. When asked what travel brands could do to help the situation, 24% of Indian travelers said they value propositions that show there’s a consideration for their mental health on their journeys.
The findings also show that Indian travelers are specifically looking for visible health and hygiene measures when they travel, such as hand sanitizers throughout the airport (92%), and socially distanced spaces in which to ‘de-stress and ‘relax away from the crowds’ – with 38% of Indian respondents saying that they would pay for lounge access to better protect their well-being at the airport.
When asked why they might be hesitant to travel in light of COVID-19, the top reason Indian travelers gave was that they were worried they would need to quarantine either on arrival or return (48%). Wanting to avoid long quarantine periods is likely a reason why Indian passengers see testing on arrival as an important component of their travel experience (50%). But interestingly, a similar 48% of Indian respondents said that pre-departure testing was also important, which indicates that COVID-19 testing has now crossed the line from being just a government pre-requisite for travel to some destinations to an element that people want to see in order to give them the confidence to take to the skies once more.
“While there are increasingly positive signs for a travel recovery, the only way to make it a success is to understand how traveler needs and fears have been changed by their experiences through the pandemic”, said David Evans, Joint CEO at Collinson. “It’s so important the travel industry recovers, and it’s even more important the industry is able to do so in a collaborative and informed way. What this research lays out is how to go about rebuilding traveler confidence, by focusing on mental as well as physical health, and understanding the factors causing stress. By working together on the issues highlighted in this study, the travel industry has yet more information to ensure travel thrives again in the future.”
“Despite many of us planning holidays to relax and recharge, the pandemic is resulting in the travel section of our trips being viewed as more stressful than before. In return, many travelers are now paying more attention to their mental well-being while traveling, not only their physical. This is an extremely important insight, as, by better understanding what travelers need to feel more comfortable and confident, brands within the travel ecosystem can implement required practices and in turn, help expedite the recovery of the industry,” said Ms. Priyanka Lakhani, Commercial Director Middle East, and Africa and Director South Asia, Collinson.
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