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2021 Travel Outlook for Travelers from the US, Germany, China

2021 Travel Outlook

A new online survey revealed travel expectations of travelers from the United States, Germany, and China in 2021. The survey’s findings reflect a positive mood.

Around 70 percent of those surveyed in Germany, the US, and China are thinking about private trips this year. Specifically, 37 percent of Germans, 42 percent of Americans, and 66 percent of Chinese are planning one or more trips.

Close to 25 percent of respondents in Germany and the US and over 35 percent in China also believe they will spend more money on traveling over the next 12 months than during the same period to date.

In China, there also appears to be significant pent-up demand for travel, where close to 50 percent of interviewees think they travel more on an ongoing basis once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, compared with 25 percent in the US and 17 percent in Germany.

Importance of Personal Safety

The majority of people not planning to travel this year say this is due to the coronavirus pandemic.  It comes as no great surprise that the pandemic still heavily influences holiday planning.

However, it is worth noting that perceived personal safety on a trip weighs more than travel choices being restricted.

50 percent of Germans not planning to travel in 2021 say they feel uneasy about taking trips during the coronavirus pandemic. In the US, the corresponding figure is 34 percent, and in China even 56 percent. By comparison, only 23 percent of German respondents, 21 percent of Americans and 45 percent of Chinese state travel restrictions as their reason for staying at home. Thus, tour operators this year face the challenge of instilling a sense of safety and well-being among their customers.

us germany china travel 2021

Beach holidays are popular in every country

A closer look at people’s travel plans in 2021 shows a preference for beach holidays in all countries, with 34 percent of Germans, 36 percent of Americans, and 42 percent of Chinese taking them into consideration.

However, for 37 and 42 percent of Germans and Americans respectively, visiting family and friends comes first, whereas for 49 percent of Chinese city breaks are most important.

The majority of respondents in all countries plan to stay in hotels, although the figures vary significantly from country to country. In China, 86 percent of private travelers intend to stay in hotels, whereas in the US and Germany the proportion is much lower, at 56 and 42 percent respectively. In Germany and the US close to one-third of prospective travellers in 2021 intend to stay overnight with family or friends. In China, the corresponding figure is only 16 percent. It is presumed that among other things the living conditions in the respective countries are responsible for these variations.

Domestic vs International Travel

Questioned as to their long-term plans for the future, 35 percent of German respondents, 38 percent of Americans, and 50 percent of Chinese believe their travel behavior will change long-term.

The reasons given were environmental considerations (47 percent in China) and the coronavirus pandemic (83 percent in Germany, 64 percent in the US, 83 percent China). Among those who say their travel behavior will change in the long run, 76 percent of Germans, 77 percent of Americans, and 88 percent of Chinese agree with the statement “I will take more vacation in my country.“

This trend also applies to destination planning in 2021. In China and the US, only 29 and 15 percent respectively of those planning trips are aiming to go abroad. The figure for Germany is significantly higher, at 61 percent. It is presumed that Germany’s location in the middle of Europe and proximity to many other countries is responsible for the higher number of international trips planned.

Business trips in 2021

In addition to their private travel plans, interviewees were asked about possible business trips.

In contrast with private trips, the findings on business travel point to a downward trend. In Germany, only 27 percent, in the US 34 percent, and in China 51 percent of respondents are planning business trips in 2021.

This is also reflected in the answer to a question on long-term changes in travel behavior. A high proportion in all cases, namely 65 percent of Germans, 66 percent of Americans, and 63 percent of Chinese interviewees agree with the statement “I will take fewer business trips.“

Outdoor activities appear to be on the rise, with 61 percent of Germans, 68 percent of Americans, and as many as 91 percent of Chinese respondents agreeing with the statement “I will take more nature/outdoor trips.“

These are the results of an online survey conducted by ITB Berlin and the market research institute Statista.

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