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Urban Indians have appetite for travel; health, safety risks are biggest barrier: Report

·3-min read

Mumbai, Jul 6 (PTI) As India continues to battle the second wave of COVID-19 while preparing for a possible third wave, a report has showed that urban Indians have an appetite for travel but health and safety risks are the biggest barrier.

In India, health risks are the biggest barrier preventing people from travelling (49 per cent), followed by safety concerns (47 per cent), according to global research and analytics firm YouGov's 'International Travel and Tourism Report 2021'.

Around 36 per cent of urban Indians see travel restrictions as a barrier and almost a third (29 per cent) are concerned about the travel costs, it noted.

Among urban Indians, intent to travel domestically for leisure has fallen since March, at the onset of the second wave of coronavirus in the country, and further declined in April with the enforcement of subsequent lockdowns and state-wise restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Demand for international travel remained consistent, albeit lower than domestic trips, it added.

The 'International Travel and Tourism Report 2021' is based on a survey among 1,85,000 respondents from 25 countries, including 12,424 from India, during October 2020-May 2021.

The report further showed that as India continued to battle the second wave of COVID-19 while preparing for a possible third wave, the progression of vaccine programmes in other parts of the world uplifted the underlying demand for travel.

Globally, health risks are much of a concern in Asian countries, especially Malaysia (62 per cent), Singapore (59 per cent), Thailand (52 per cent) and India (49 per cent).

While travel restrictions remain a primary obstacle for consumers in the European markets, like the UK (62 per cent), Germany (59 per cent) and Norway (51 per cent), the report stated.

In May 2021, domestic travel sentiment was the highest in European markets like Italy, Spain, France and Denmark, as well as Asian countries like Indonesia and Thailand, it noted.

On the other hand, appetite for international holidays appears lower than domestic trips, and less than a fifth of consumers (18 per cent) globally are planning an international vacation in the next 12 months.

The United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stand out as exceptions, with respondents planning to travel substantially more than consumers in other countries, the report stated.

When it comes to business travel, consumer sentiment data points to a slow demand compared to leisure travel, it said.

The report said that about 14 per cent respondents in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) and 18 per cent in the Middle East are more likely to travel for business, both domestically and internationally, than consumers in Europe (6 per cent) and North America (11 per cent).

When asked about the major factors preventing people from travelling, health risks emerged as the primary barrier to travel among global respondents, followed by travel restrictions (48 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively).

'As we move into a post-COVID world, it is clear that many people are broadening their horizons and want to travel — both domestically and internationally. However, the picture is a nuanced one both between countries and within markets,' YouGov Global Sector Head of Travel and Tourism Eva Stewart added.

Stewart added that it is crucial that the industry has a clear view of who is looking to travel and where they want to go, so that they can cater to these consumers as effectively as possible PTI SM HRS hrs

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