People worldwide are frustrated with the way that travel restrictions have been implemented and continue to be enforced, according to a report published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to the report, 73% of respondents to a survey carried out by IATA say that travel restrictions have directly reduced their quality of life. This number is up 6% from June 2021, when people were posed the same question.
In addition, 67% of respondents said that national borders should be opened now, an increase of 12% since June.
64% of respondents said that travel restrictions were unnecessary in the first place, an increase of 11% since June.
Since the start of travel restrictions in Europe and globally in March 2020, people have become increasingly frustrated with the permanence of restrictions that were supposed to be temporary initially.
People have missed family moments, friends, significant others, and business opportunities because of the impossible nature of traveling due to governments’ responses to Covid-19.
“People are increasingly frustrated with the COVID-19 travel restrictions and even more have seen their quality of life suffer as a result. They don’t see the necessity of travel restrictions to control the virus. And they have missed too many family moments, personal development opportunities and business priorities. In short, they miss the freedom of flying and want it restored. The message they are sending to governments is: COVID-19 is not going to disappear, so we must establish a way to manage its risks while living and traveling normally,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Surprisingly, however, people that responded to the survey did seem to support protective measures when traveling, such as wearing masks while onboard aircraft.
87% of respondents said that protective measures were well implemented while traveling, and 88% said that airline personnel had done a good job implementing the protective rules.
There is still, however, much confusion about the rules when traveling. Every country, city, airport, and airline has their own Covid-19 rules, which can make planning a trip extremely confusing.
When asked about this challenge, 73% of respondents said that it was challenging to understand the Covid-19 rules for the places they were going and the airlines they traveled with, and that the paperwork was extremely difficult to arrange. This is an increase of 70% since June.
86% of respondents expect to travel within six months of the pandemic ending, however, the time for that is still extremely unclear.
In addition, there is no uniformity in the rules; Member States in Europe often have drastically different rules from one-another, and these rules vary from other regions around the world. This causes much confusion and frustration among people who want to travel to these regions, and discourages many from doing so.
“People want to travel. 86% expect to be traveling within six months of the crisis ending. With COVID-19 becoming endemic, vaccines being widely available and therapeutics improving rapidly, we are quickly approaching that point in time. People also tell us that they are confident to travel. But what those who have traveled are telling us is that the rules are too complex and the paperwork too onerous. To secure the recovery governments need to simplify processes, restore the freedom to travel and adopt digital solutions to issue and manage travel health credentials,” said Walsh.
IATA is an organization that is built around collecting data from and advocating for the airline industry to governments and authorities worldwide.
IATA’s survey included 4,700 respondents.