IATA reports traveller frustration over travel restrictions

 Friday, October 8, 2021 

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently reported that air travellers are increasingly frustrated with Covid-19 travel restrictions. The organization recently conducted a survey of 4,700 respondents in 11 markets in September to demonstrate confidence that the risks of Covid-19 can be effectively managed and freedom to travel should be restored.

According to the reports, nearly 67 per cent of respondents felt that most country borders should be opened now, up 12 percentage-points from the June survey. In total, 64 per cent of respondents felt that border closures are unnecessary and have not been effective in containing the virus (up 11 percentage points from June).

Finally, 73 per cent responded that their quality of life is suffering as a result of Covid-19 travel restrictions (up six percentage points from June). The biggest issue with air travel continues to be quarantine measures. About 84 per cent of respondents indicated that they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at their destination.

With the vaccination rates globally increasing, 80 per cent of respondents agree that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely by air. However, there were strong views against making vaccination a condition for air travel. About two-thirds felt it is morally wrong to restrict travel only to those who have been vaccinated. Over 80 per cent of respondents believe that testing before air travel should be an alternative for people without access to vaccination.

Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA said in a statement that people are increasingly frustrated with the Covid-19 travel restrictions and even more have seen their quality of life suffer as a result. He said that travellers have missed too many family moments, personal development opportunities and business priorities and do not the necessity of travel restrictions to control the virus.

He said that people miss the freedom of flying and want it restored and are sending messages to governments that Covid-19 is not going to disappear, so a way must be established to manage its risks while living and travelling normally. He shared that people are willing to be tested to travel but they don’t like the cost or the inconvenience and both can be addressed by governments.

He concluded saying that the reliability of rapid antigen tests is recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and mentioned that it is also clear that while people accept testing and other measures such as mask-wearing as necessary, they want to return to more normal ways of travel when it is safe to do so.

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