Confidence in travel returning amongst the over-60s


A Travel Department survey highlights Italy, Spain and Portugal as top of the list when we can travel again, reports Clodagh Dooley

Despite a gloomy outlook on international travel this week, confidence in travel seems to be returning to consumers in Ireland, especially in the over-60s age group! We learnt this from a recent survey by our friends in the Travel Department, Ireland’s leading provider of guided group holidays.

Sara Zimmerman, CEO, Travel Department

According to the survey of Travel Department customers, carried out between December 2020 and January 2021, over half of those surveyed believe travel will return to pre-Covid-19 levels by the second half of 2021, with 40% saying the same for 2022. This is primarily due to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme.

Travel Department has been surveying their customer base over the past number of months to assess sentiment and appetite to travel amidst the pandemic. Customers were also surveyed in May and August. 78% of the 596 respondents were 60+ years old.

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In August 2020, one-fifth of those surveyed felt unsure about when or if travel would ever recover. That proportion has now dropped to just 7%.

Sara Zimmerman, CEO of Travel Department, said: “While the recent surge in Covid-19 cases has knocked confidence in the short term, the vaccine rollout plan will benefit the over-60s in Ireland. As soon as the volume of vaccinations starts to increase, we expect to see a surge in demand, especially for the second half of the year.”

European breaks are top of the list for customers when restrictions lift, with the Italian Lakes, sunny Spain, and Portugal the most popular destinations. Unsurprisingly, the survey revealed that demand for long haul destinations, in particular, China, India and the USA, is likely to take longer to recover.

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42% of those surveyed said Covid-19 has made them want to see more places on their bucket list, up from a quarter in August, while over half of respondents sense they are losing time to travel at this stage of their lives due to the pandemic.

Of customers surveyed, 15% felt that they would be taking holidays in Ireland for the foreseeable future, however, that figure is down from 33% in August. Overall, Travel Department customers surveyed said they were relatively unaffected financially by the pandemic, with one-fifth claiming they are better off, indicating that this will not be an inhibitor when they decide to travel again.

Travel Department knows how important flexibility is at the moment. So, up until 31st of March 2021, any new bookings made can be changed for free, or deposits can be exchanged for a voucher with no expiry date. This flexibility is valid right up to when a holiday balance is due.

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