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IHG Hotels & Resorts research reveals the impact of COVID-19 on travel and wellbeing, with Australians wanting to pack their bags in 2021

February 10, 2021 Hotel News No Comments

New global research has revealed the psychology of travel and the impacts of the COVID pandemic on Aussie adults, with almost two-thirds of Australians (57 per cent) saying holidays positively impact their physical and mental health, compared with 46 per cent in the UK and 35 per cent in the US.

In fact, more than one in five Aussies (22 per cent) say they need as many as four to six weeks of holidays per year in order to feel refreshed, and before the pandemic, only 15 per cent were going more than one to three weeks without a break.

The research, commissioned by IHG Hotels & Resorts – one of the world’s largest hospitality companies – surveyed 6,000 adults across Australia, US and UK to uncover how travellers are feeling at the start of the new year.

Reclaiming confidence in 2021

With COVID-19 closing borders across the globe, it’s not surprising 42 per cent of Australians had to cancel one to two trips away in 2020, while 13% were forced to cancel three to four trips – taking a toll on overall mood and wellbeing. With thousands of cancelled trips in 2020, it seems the ‘daily routine’ is paying its mental toll, with more than half of Australian adults (55 per cent) confessing they most enjoy getting away from their home and daily life.

Before the pandemic, 50 per cent of Australian adults said they typically went on holidays a least one to two times per year, with a further 27 per cent typically holidaying three to four times per year.

While almost 40 per cent admit the past year is the longest they have ever gone without a holiday, it seems there is appetite to pack the travel bags in 2021. Almost one in five (19 per cent) plan to make up for lost 2020 travel by going on more trips, and 51 per cent also plan to rebook, or have rebooked, their cancelled travel in 2021.

Of the trips cancelled, seeing family and friends jumped to the top spot as the number one thing they were most looking forward to when rebooking (29 per cent), followed closely by reclaiming a family holiday (26 per cent).

For Aussies, safety remains paramount. 40 per cent of adults said they will wait until a vaccine is easily and widely available before travelling (31 per cent in the US and 43 per cent in the UK), and 27 per cent said a clean and safe surrounding impacts their mood and wellbeing when travelling.

A third of Aussies (30 per cent) also recognise that going away on holidays was not only important for themselves, but also for their relationships with friends, family, and partners. And half (50 per cent) claim that going away for work also allows them to create more meaningful relationships with colleagues, customers or clients.

According to UK-based psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos – a trip does just that (and more) – noting that a break from routine is not only mentally and emotionally good for you, but it also makes you more productive and happier.

Dr. Linda Papadopoulos said: “Having a sense of balance in terms of how much we work and how much we rest is key. The term vacation means to vacate – to stop worrying about to do lists, and switch that ‘should’ or ‘have to’ mode off – allowing you time to rekindle meaningful connections, relax/de-stress and come back feeling more energised.

The impact of the pandemic on our mental health and our daily lives has been something that many of us have never experienced – having to cancel breaks where we would normally recharge, rest and nurture relationships has meant that many of us have not had that much needed downtime. It is important for our mental health to gain balance- to recharge and to make time to connect with things other than the ‘have-to’s and to do lists that dominate our minds.

Planning things to look forward to, whether it be a novel activity a short weekend away with friends or a far flung holiday in the future – it can bring some focus and positivity into a time that currently still feels challenging and a bit unknown.”

Leanne Harwood, Managing Director Australasia & Japan, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “As an avid traveller myself, I can only empathise with how important meaningful connection is with family, friends, colleagues and the communities in which we travel. While the COVID pandemic has certainly diversified the ways in which we connect, it’s evident there is a hearty desire for real-life connection and the overall toll it takes on our wellbeing when we’re unable to do so.

“We know travel may still look a little different this year, but we are committed to continue innovating and finding new ways to help people connect and experience our own backyard and beyond – and feel confident while doing so.”

Whenever guests are ready to travel, IHG Hotels & Resorts is here. IHG Hotels & Resorts is one of the world’s leading hotel companies, with nearly 6,000 hotels in over 100 countries. Its family of 16 brands, including Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, InterContinental, Hotel Indigo, voco, Crowne Plaza and the Holiday Inn family, is a collection of welcoming experiences, for wherever guests go and however they want to stay. Visit IHG Hotels & Resorts explore tool to browse and discover thousands of properties around the world and plan your next adventure now with Book Now, Pay Later.

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