Visiting Friends, Relatives Will Power Post-Pandemic Travel

The future of travel is unknown, but one thing is for certain: the world will change. With a pandemic threatening to wipe out humanity and an uncertain future, we need to start thinking about how we’ll get around when the world goes dark.

The where can americans travel is a question that has been asked by many people. The United States Government has released a list of countries where Americans are allowed to travel to.

After more than a year of being confined to their homes and restricted from traveling both domestically and internationally, travelers’ interests have changed dramatically.

According to new study from renowned data and analytics firm GlobalData, people’s yearning to reconnect with family and friends in person may be even stronger than their pent-up desire for leisure trips. Its results indicate that VFR excursions (seeing friends and relatives) will be a key driving factor in the global travel industry’s revival, and tourism operators should not underestimate their impact.


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“GlobalData’s forecasts suggest that visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel will experience higher growth, with a 17-percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2021-25, compared to leisure, growing at a 16.4-percent increase between the same time period,” said Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData. “While VFR will not surpass the number of international leisure getaways, it will play a vital role in travel’s recovery, with 242 million international departures expected to be taken for this purpose by 2025.”

According to GlobalData’s Q3 2019 consumer survey, VFR was the second-most popular travel option (46 percent) among worldwide respondents in 2019, behind only “sun and beach vacations” (58 percent).

While we would anticipate visitors to take their first chance to escape to the sea and sand locations they’ve been deprived of for so long after spending 18 months cooped up at home and tied to the humdrum, Reuniting with friends and family who may have been separated due to travel restrictions is likely to be a higher priority for many individuals, according to GlobalData.

VFR’s dominance in the travel environment is also determined by the source market. In the United States, 53% of tourists make this kind of vacation their top priority. In Australia, 52 percent of respondents agreed, while 49 percent in Canada, 64 percent in India, and 60 percent in Saudi Arabia said the same.

A GlobalData graphic illustrating travel trends revealed in a Q2 2021 survey. A GlobalData graphic depicting travel patterns discovered in a study conducted in Q2 2021. (Photo credit: GlobalData)

“According to a more recent GlobalData study, 83 percent of worldwide respondents were ‘extremely’, ‘quite’, or ‘slightly’ worried about limits on socializing with friends and family,” Bonhill-Smith added, referring to the company’s Q2 2021 consumer survey. “Platforms like Zoom, Facebook, and WhatsApp have allowed customers to connect electronically, but it’s still not the same as hugging a family member or sitting down together,” she said.

GlobalData’s results prompted it to recommend that global locations, tourist organizations, and travel-related companies seeking to re-attract visitors concentrate on assisting loved ones in reuniting. Bonhill-Smith gave some ideas of how they might go about it: “Destinations may grant special visas or conditions to facilitate family reunification. Airlines should guarantee that popular VFR routes are among the first to be restored, and hotels and attractions may provide family discounts and incentives. All businesses in the travel industry might benefit from a deeper knowledge of the tourist market.”