Many UAE residents prefer not to travel until COVID-19 vaccine becomes available: Survey

By Backend Office, Desk Reporter
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A survey has found that more than a quarter of UAE residents are unwilling to travel until the COVID-19 vaccine is in use.

According to the survey by YouGov, a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, which consisted of 1,011 individuals reported that 27 percent of respondents had “abandoned the idea of travel” before immunization was available in some form.

Out of those willing to travel during the pandemic, 24 percent said they would pick a staycation, while 20 percent would still fly to an international destination where tourists were allowed.

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Twelve per cent said they will only travel to areas with low COVID-19 infection rates, both domestically and internationally.

Women were more likely to be shy travelers than men, as 32 percent preferred to stay at home compared to 25 percent of men.

As hopeful news comes from vaccine developers, the travel industry is preparing to recover.

“No one can predict the future, but we expect a steep recovery in travel demand once a COVID-19 vaccine is available,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group. “We are readying ourselves to serve that rebound.”

In the latest financial report released by Emirates Airline, the largest regional carrier and largest long-haul operator, the YouGov figures were reflected.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a $3.4 billion loss to the travel industry in the first half of the 2020-21 financial year, illustrating the devastating effect of the global outbreak.

For the travel industry, the advent of an effective vaccine developed by Pfizer with a recorded 90% success rate against the virus provides hope.

Various age groups

Among the various age groups, fear of the pandemic seemed to be universal.

Out of young adults aged 18-24 years, 35 percent were hesitant to fly. Meanwhile, the same tendency was seen in 35 percent of people belonging to the age group of 45 years and above.

New way of travel and destinations

A novel kind of travel to a new or off-beat destination to work and relax is motivated by the boredom of sitting and working from home.

One in eight (12%) of UAE residents were looking forward to going on a working holiday during the pandemic, the survey found.

This particular type of holiday was more popular Among high-income households. 29 percent of those making $10,000 a month or more chose to take a working vacation in the UAE.

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Beaches and mountains dominated the choice list of destinations for those willing to travel (45 percent, followed by luxury resorts (33 percent), wildlife sanctuaries (29 percent) and retreats for health and wellness (27 percent).

But a majority of 59 percent opted to fly only with immediate family members, despite these numbers.