Hopeful holidaymakers have been buoyed by the approval and rollout of the first coronavirus vaccines, according to new research by UK travel insurance specialists Just Travel Cover.
After almost a year of disruption due to Covid-19, research by the broker suggests most Brits are eager to get away in 2021, with 96 per cent of those surveyed saying they plan at least one holiday this year - and 70 per cent hoping for two or more breaks.
The survey, which was answered by more than 1,600 British travellers, showed that the overwhelming majority will take the vaccine when they are offered it – and when asked if they would take the vaccine if it became a requirement of international travel, 94 per cent said yes.
Positive sign for the recovery of tourism
Andrew Jackson, Managing Director of Just Travel Cover, said the survey is a positive sign that the market can make a recovery after Covid-19.
He said: “It seems the vaccine has given people a renewed sense of optimism that we will emerge from this crisis very soon. The British public’s love of holidays hasn’t weakened, it is simply on hold – in fact, I think people need a break more than ever and plan to make up for lost time by taking more trips than they usually would, or plan a more luxurious holiday, for example. It’s clear from this research that we can expect a boom when it is safe to travel again.”
Changing attitudes towards travel insurance
Just Travel Cover, which specialises in travel insurance for over-50s and those with pre-existing medical conditions, also found that people are looking for more from their insurance.
“We know that – as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis – people’s attitudes towards insurance have changed. More than half of those we surveyed said that being hospitalised abroad was their biggest concern when it comes to travelling, and around two-thirds said they would specifically look for enhanced cover for coronavirus when buying travel insurance.
“It is important to listen to your customers and adapt to their changing needs – so we’ve worked with insurers to be able to offer enhanced protection when it comes to coronavirus, as well as providing single-trip and annual insurance for travellers of any age and cover for pre-existing conditions.”
Seychelles first African country to start vaccines
Meanwhile, Seychelles, a popular destination for leisure travellers, has launched its national Covid-19 immunization campaign. Being the first country in Africa to start such a national vaccination programme, Seychelles aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate 70 per cent of population who are over 18 years of age in order to achieve herd immunity.
Leading by example is the President of the Republic of Seychelles, HE Wavel Ramkalawan, who recently had the SinoPharm Covid-19 vaccine, making him the first head of state in Africa to take a Covid jab. The campaign launch, held at the Seychelles Hospital, started on a high note with around 100 people, including leaders, health workers, and media personalities, receiving their first shot of the SinoPharm Covid-19 vaccine and showing their support for the country’s immunization efforts.
WHO remains cautious
However, a return to normalcy won’t be possible until herd immunity is achieved worldwide — a goal that is unlikely in 2021, although some countries may achieve it within their own borders, said World Health Organization (WHO) Outbreak Alert and Response Network chair Dale Fisher.
“Remember, ending the Covid-19 pandemic is one of [humanity’s] great races, and whether we like it or not, we will win or lose this race together,” says WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
As news of heightened vaccine distribution efforts continue to be reported around the world, acting as a beacon of hope for the revival of international travel, ITIJ asks whether Covid vaccines should be a requirement for future travel.