May 21, 2020

Weekly Travel Insights – 21 May

There's growing consumer appetite for domestic travel and exploring regional travel bubbles following government proposals around the world to kick-start the industry.

The rise of domestic and regional travel

As countries begin to relax restrictions for some domestic travel and work towards agreements for air bridges and travel bubbles, we're seeing what the new normal for search intent looks like. 

The UK looks to France and Italy

Announcements from European countries on the possible summer re-opening of borders led to a surge of interest among UK travellers: 

  • Searches to France (for travel in July) increased 128% WoW.
  • Searches to Italy (for travel in July) increased 103% WoW.

Growing interest in car hire

Searches for car hire increased in many European countries, as travellers look for road trips as a way to start exploring domestically:

  • 40% increase in Germany
  • 30% increase in the Netherlands
  • 30% increase in the UK

Domestic searches are on the up in APAC

In Australia, people are searching closer to home, with a surge in interest for northern  destinations:

  • Searches to Broome rose 158%
  • Searches to Cairns rose 149%
  • Searches to Darwin rose 117%

Following the announcement of the Trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, Queenstown and Auckland were in the top three most searched for destinations by Australians in the last week. 

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Elsewhere in the region, over 50% of searches in countries such as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam are now for domestic travel: 52%, 59% and 55% respectively.  

Americans seek sunshine in Florida

Ahead of Memorial Day in the United States, the re-opening of cities is attracting attention with flight searches to both Tampa and Orlando increasing by over 58% for travel between May 21 and June 30. 

What travellers are thinking

These are the insights from our ninth weekly pulse survey of over 6,000 travellers around the world. 

Perceptions of international travel

Overall, there’s a slight increase in the number of people who think the global situation is improving, while there’s a drop in the number of people who think it’s getting worse.

  • 54% think it’s getting better, compared to 52% last week and 54% the week before. 
  • 21% think it’s getting worse, compared to 24% last week and 22% the week before.
  • 26% think it’s staying the same, compared to 24% last week and the week before.

Perceptions of domestic travel

Overall, fewer people think the domestic situation is improving and more people think it’s getting worse – the highest number for four weeks.

  • 51% think it’s getting better, compared to 56% last week and 57% the week before.
  • 22% think it’s getting worse, compared to 21% last week and 20% the week before.
  • 19% think it’s staying the same, compared to 17% last week and 18% the week before.

Anxiety around travel is falling

People are gradually becoming more optimistic about global and domestic travel.

Global travel:

  • Fewer people are feeling anxious compared to one to two months ago, but it’s remained at similar levels for the past two weeks.
  • Travellers in EMEA are far less anxious than those in AMER and APAC.

Domestic travel:

  • Fewer people are anxious compared to one to two months ago, but it's stayed at similar levels for the past two weeks.
  • Anxiety is falling most rapidly in EMEA, followed by APAC, with anxiety in AMER falling at a lower rate.

The risk perception of travel is falling

Global travel:

  • Risk perception is falling, but has remained at the same level for the past three weeks.
  • It's falling fastest in EMEA, followed by AMER, but remains high in APAC.

Domestic travel:

  • Overall, domestic risk perception is lower than global risk perception. It’s been falling over the past two months, but has plateaued in the last two weeks.
  • It's falling fastest in APAC and EMEA, but remains higher in AMER.

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“Travellers will adapt their planned destination according to government regulations”

Jon Thorne, Director of User Satisfaction, Skyscanner 

“Nations around the world are discussing new travel alliances. As certain countries have been named, we've seen a correlation with an increase in search data to those locations, intimating that travellers will adapt their planned destination according to government regulations. 

“Safety is, of course, paramount in many people’s minds. Many travellers are taking advantage of the airlines and hotels who are offering their most flexible cancellation policies ever and booking international travel for later this year and early next.”

Next week, we'll share the latest data and insights from the past seven days on our blog, as well as keeping you updated with how we're helping travellers and the wider industry during the pandemic.

* Data is based on Skyscanner search data from the UK for 10/05/2020 - 17/05/2020, analysed between 18-19 May 2020. Flight search data is based on return, economy itineraries. Car hire data is based on return itinerary.