COVID-19 vaccine progress causes spike in travel searches

Posted by Anita Froneman on 19 November 2020

The good news that potential COVID-19 vaccines are faring well in their trials has sparked a flicker of hope for travel-hungry tourists.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their COVID-19 vaccine has proven 90% effective in clinical trials, and competitor Moderna revealed that their experimental vaccine candidate proved 94.5% effective.

As a result, booking platforms have noticed a sharp increase in travel searches, indicating a promising restoration in traveller confidence.

COVID-19 vaccine progress causes spike in travel searches

Recent statistics show that prospective travellers are planning to tour the world soon.

According to Skyscanner, searches in the United Kingdom for the spring and summer of 2021 are up by 48%, week on week.

‘Obviously, it’s early days but with the promising vaccine news hitting the headlines… we did see an immediate spike in searches for travel next spring and summer. Our data shows an increase in all searches from the UK for travel between April 1 and August 31, 2021, showing there really is a pent-up appetite for Brits to get exploring again,’ Skyscanner’s Senior Global Brand Director Jo McClintock told Lonely Planet.

Booking site Expedia also reported a surge in travel searches, especially for international trips.

‘Looking at accommodation data from over the past week, interest in holidays from mid-December onwards grew by 50%. There was a 20% increase in trips within the UK and a huge 80% increase in interest for international travel, especially for long-haul destinations,’ an Expedia representative told Lonely Planet.

South Africa is open for tourists from all countries, under certain conditions. South Africans are free to visit countries where we have been given the green light to enter.

Sisa Ntshona said that the country is eager to welcome travellers from overseas.

‘While we know that there won’t an immediate influx of tourists as other countries are now experiencing second waves of the pandemic and have imposed travel restrictions for their citizens, we look forward to welcoming those tourists that are able to come.

‘They can finally get to enjoy the wide-open spaces, scenic landscape, unique and authentic cultural experiences that South Africa has to offer,’ Ntshona said.

South Africans are strongly encouraged to support local tourism over the coming festive season and many cities have launched tourism campaigns inviting residents to explore their offerings, like the Western Cape’s ‘We Are Open’ and Durban’s ‘Rediscover’ campaign.

Also read:

How to save South Africa’s tourism by having a blast


Picture: Unsplash

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