Allianz Partners reveals the findings of its first International Vacation Confidence Index, which surveyed 9,000 people across Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, UK and USA 

 While the world is watching how the new Omicron variant will affect travel, Allianz Partners shares the results of the first edition of the International Vacation Confidence Index. Carried out by OpinionWay, the recent survey finds that a majority of European and American holidaymakers intend to travel this winter, with over half of all respondents in the 9 countries surveyed planning to travel. 

While there is a clear intention to travel this winter, it is predominantly driven by strong domestic demand, with Italians (65%), Spaniards (63%), French (42%) and Americans (57%) intending to forgo international travel in favor of holidaying in their own country of residence. The cross-country trend suggests that the return to international travel this winter will be met with caution by many prospective holidaymakers. 

A few of the top survey trends:

  • Spaniards (78%), Italians (77%) and Americans (68%) have the highest travel intentions and place the most importance on winter travel
  • The French (51%) are the least likely to have winter vacation plans this year, followed by the Germans (57%) and the Dutch (59%) 
  • The Brits place somewhere in the middle in terms of domestic winter travel plans (44%) with a higher preference for planning foreign travel (25%) than the French (15%) and the Americans (18%)
  • The Swiss and the Dutch have the highest rate of foreign travel plans: 38% and 31% respectively

Importance of winter vacation varies per country
While most respondents plan to travel this winter, the OpinionWay survey reveals that a winter getaway is most important for Spaniards (73%), Italians (64%) and Americans (69%). The UK is the only other country in which a majority of the population says winter vacation is important (58%). In comparison, for the French (42%), Dutch (45%), Austrians (46%), Germans (48%) and Swiss (49%), winter vacation is less important. Winter vacation appears to be least important to the Dutch, with 27% finding it ‘not at all important’. 

Allianz Global Assistance offers Epidemic Coverage
Allianz Global Assistance offers Epidemic Coverage

In Austria, which is currently under lockdown restrictions, 61% intend to travel this winter, with one in four planning to make a trip abroad. In addition, 25% cited concerns around the ongoing pandemic as a reason for not making travel plans. 

The outlook for foreign travel is most positive in Switzerland and the Netherlands

The outlook for foreign travel is most positive in the smallest countries of the group: Switzerland is at the top of the list with 38% of respondents intending to travel abroad over the winter months. While the Dutch may not see winter travel as their top priority, they have the second highest rates of foreign travel plans, with 31% of respondents planning to go abroad. The countries with the lowest rates of foreign travel plans are France (15%) and the US (18%).

Winter holiday budgets vary greatly: American holidaymakers plan to spend 3 times more than Italians 

Americans intend to spend the most on winter vacation this year with an average budget of $3,382. This could be attributed to the cost of transportation where travel often requires flying. The British have the second highest budget at $2,126, with a relatively high percentage of Britons intending to travel abroad. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest budget for winter travel is in Italy ($864) and Spain ($1,053) where costs are lower and travel is feasible by train or by car.  

The health crisis continues to worry travelers 
In all countries surveyed, respondents identified three major reasons not to travel: winter vacation not being important, wanting to save money, and worry over the pandemic.

In Germany, concern about the ongoing health crisis is the main reason for not planning a holiday this winter (30%) compared with just 13% of French respondents. The health crisis is also a key consideration for Britons, with 27% citing it as a travel deterrent.

Meanwhile, saving money is the top reason not to travel for Italians (29%), and Americans (23%), while 26% of Spaniards will forgo a holiday for saving purposes with an equal amount claiming that winter holidays are not important.

For a majority of respondents, the combination of vaccination and flexible travel arrangements offer sufficient mitigation against this period of uncertainty and risk. Vaccination is the top precaution undertaken by all, most notably Austrians (64%), Spaniards (63%), Italians (60%) and Britons (55%). 

Britons are also most likely to purchase an insurance policy (39%) followed by the Dutch (30%) and Spaniards (25%). 

Commenting on the survey, Joe Mason, Chief Marketing Officer – Travel, at Allianz Partners said: “After the success of our Vacation Confidence Index in the USA over many years looking at summer holiday travel, we are thrilled to expand our reach and look at winter travel trends globally. This comprehensive study provides a multi-market analysis of reported changes to travel demand and behavioral intentions around traveling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding what factors influence individual travel decisions is vital for tourism planning in these uncertain times and enables Allianz Partners to respond to changing consumer needs and preferences with travel protection solutions aimed at boosting traveler confidence into the future.”

To see the infographic, click here.

Study Methodology
The study was carried out on a sample of 9,005 people, in France (1,000), in Germany (1,001), in the United-Kingdom (1,000), in Italy (1,000), in Spain (1,002), in the Netherlands (1,001), in Austria (1,001), in Switzerland (1,000) and in the United States (1,000). The samples were drawn up according to the quota method, with regard to the criteria of sex, age, socio-professional category, region of residence and size of agglomeration in France; sex, age, region and income in other countries. The interviews were performed using a self-administered online questionnaire via the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview) system. The interviews were done from November 2 to November 9, 2021.

This post was sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance.