How COVID-19 Is Affecting Traveler Choices

Featured in Forbes

By Bruce Spear, Jessica Stansbury, and Anne Pruvot
This article first appeared in Forbes on June 11, 2020.

After spending months sheltering in place, most people around the world seem ready and eager to travel again, whether for business or leisure.

But a resounding majority said they would still wait for an all-clear from either government or the World Health Organization before risking COVID-19 exposure.

In an Oliver Wyman survey of 4,600 consumers who had flown at least once in 2019, 56 percent anticipate traveling the same or more for leisure in the coming months. That’s higher than we had anticipated, given that the survey was taken in early May. But for 60 percent of them, the trips would have to wait for a sign from government or the World Health Organization (WHO) that travel was safe again.

60 percent of survey respondents said they are waiting for a sign from the government or the World Health Organization (WHO) that it is safe to travel again

That sign could include the lifting of travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and shelter-in-place orders. For 17 percent, only a vaccine or a finding that they had the coronavirus antibody or acquired immunity would be sufficient. A mere four percent said they were willing to travel immediately.

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