Confidence in travel is returning in the over-60s age group primarily due to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, according to a recent survey of Travel Department customers.
The company conducted surveys in late summer 2020 and, most recently, in December 2020 and early January 2021. 78% of the 596 respondents in the most recent survey were 60+ years old.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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, and 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”.
Travel Department has adopted greater flexibility in its bookings policy: all new bookings made until 31 March 2021 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.