Surprise! Despite Biblical plagues swirling around the globe, families are holding strong to holiday travel plans. More than three quarters of residents recently surveyed in Spain and Italy intend to travel this holiday season. Americans, planning holiday travel at 68%, are in third place among countries surveyed.
Domestic Travel Dominates Holiday Travel Plans
The first International Vacation Confidence Index from Allianz Partners surveyed 9,000 people in Europe and the US from Nov. 2-Nov. 9, 2021. (Since the Omicron variant was not announced by WHO until Nov. 24, some experts believe family travelers’ confidence may wane.)
While the survey found a clear intention among families to travel somewhere this winter, holiday travel plans indicate strong domestic demand. The surveyed countries with the lowest rates of foreign travel plans are France (15%) and the US (18%).
It was Sir Winston Churchill who said, “it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Now more than a quarter of British families, perhaps tired of their small island nation, will travel abroad. While 27% of the Dutch interviewed found winter vacations ‘not at all important’ — the Dutch, along with the Swiss, have the highest rate of foreign holiday travel plans this winter.
Allianz Partners Vacation Confidence Index
The survey was conducted by Allianz Partners, a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company, in conjunction with OpinionWay. Most readers know them for the Allianz Travel-branded travel protection plans that serve millions of customers each year.
Those traveling domestically or internationally for holiday festivals, lights displays and family visits don’t always buy travel insurance. Allianz found that for a majority of respondents, the combination of Covid-19 vaccination and flexible travel arrangements offered sufficient mitigation against the risk of losing their travel investment.
Yet, Britons (55% vaccination rate) are also most likely to purchase an insurance policy (39%) followed by the Dutch (30%) and Spaniards (25%).
Winter Getaways A Top Priority As Christmas Markets Close
We were surprised by travelers’ resilience despite strict lockdowns in their home countries and the cancellation of public events such as Europe’s top Christmas markets.
Austria, for example, is currently under lockdown restrictions until Dec. 13, 2021. That means the beloved Weihnachtsmarkts in major cities had to close in the middle of the holiday shopping season. Yet six in 10 Austrians will follow through on holiday travel plans this winter, with one in four planning to make a trip abroad.
Health and Finances Worry Travelers’ Holiday Travel Plans
Surprisingly, only 25% of Austrians cited concerns around the ongoing pandemic as a reason for not making holiday travel plans.
The survey asked respondents to identify their major reasons not to travel. The three top reasons for family travelers are winter vacation not being important, wanting to save money, and worry over the pandemic.
In Germany, concern about the ongoing health crisis is the main reason for not planning a holiday this winter (30%) compared with just 13% of French respondents. The health crisis is also a key consideration for Britons, with 27% citing it as a travel deterrent.
Meanwhile, saving money is the top reason not to travel for Americans (23%).
“Understanding what factors influence individual travel decisions is vital for tourism planning,” says Joe Mason, Chief Marketing Officer – Travel, at Allianz Partners. “In these uncertain times, it enables Allianz Partners to respond to changing consumer needs and preferences with travel protection solutions aimed at boosting traveler confidence into the future.”
Our take: Whether you’re just insuring airlines tickets to Grandma’s house or that fancy Airbnb villa rental you booked, family travel insurance is the best gift you can give yourselves this season.
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