A new Canstar survey* of 1,094 Australian adults has revealed a whopping 69% of respondents (equivalent to around 13.8 million people) intend to book a domestic or international holiday – or both – once international borders fully reopen.
Restrictions are set to lift once 70-80% of the eligible population is vaccinated, meaning fully vaccinated Australian residents and citizens will be able to leave on holiday or to reunite with loved ones.
And it seems Australians aren’t planning to waste much time before making travel plans, with 7% of respondents in Canstar’s survey intending to book internationally and a further 10% domestically as soon as borders reopen. Another 11% plan to book an overseas trip within six months, and 16% a local one within that time.
A small number of Australians (6%) plan to book both an international and domestic holiday following border reopenings, either immediately or within the foreseeable future.
Canstar finance expert Steve Mickenbecker said many Australians had been forced to put their travel plans on hold or cancel them altogether during the period of fluctuating border restrictions over the past 18 months.
“Limited opportunities to spend during lockdowns means some Australians have squirrelled away a stockpile of savings, so we’ll likely see a wave of travel-related spending once domestic and international borders reopen,” Mr Mickenbecker said.
“We’re already seeing a swathe of deals emerging to incentivise travel for fully vaccinated tourists, including discounts on airfares, accommodation, and holiday packages, which should breathe some much-needed life back into the tourism industry.”
But not everyone has been bitten by the travel bug. Canstar’s research found 31% of Australians surveyed have no intention of booking a trip once borders reopen.
Of those who aren’t planning a holiday in the near future, over a quarter (26%) can’t afford it, while 16% don’t have an interest in travel. Other reasons include a fear of catching COVID-19 while travelling (14%), other financial priorities (13%) and worries about potential future border closures (13%).
“Throughout the pandemic, borders have often snapped shut with very little notice, leaving thousands of people in the lurch, so it’s understandable there’s some hesitancy around booking a trip for this reason,” said Mr Mickenbecker.
He said it would also be interesting to see how travel insurance will work in the coming months, as insurers enter the uncharted waters of providing cover for those who can freely travel to other countries during a pandemic.
There’s also the issue of whether a person’s vaccine status will impact the policies they can access and the premiums they are charged.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers have withdrawn international travel insurance from sale, amended policies to preclude or restrict COVID-related claims, or relied on blanket pandemic exclusions. Most policies, even domestic ones, are likely to have changed from their pre-COVID form,” Mr Mickenbecker said.
“To avoid being stung on holidays, travellers should check their travel insurance policy before setting out to ensure it includes cover for COVID-19 and other pandemics, and whether this is for all of their related medical, cancellation and interruption of travel costs.”
Of the 45 travel insurance providers on Canstar’s database currently accepting new applications, 28 currently do not provide any cover for COVID-19 related claims, as we revealed in our list of travel insurance providers offering some form of COVID-19 cover.
*Survey of 1,094 Australians aged 18+. Commissioned by Canstar and conducted online via Qualtrics in September 2021. Results rounded to the nearest whole percentage point.