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New Medjet poll suggests Omicron fears may not significantly affect travel plans

As of November 15, over 84% of Medjet members who responded had future travel plans in place. 90% reported planning to take a domestic trip in the next nine months (65% within the next three months), and 70% expected to take an international trip within the next nine months (24% within the next three months).

NEW YORK, NY – As many travel experts ponder whether the new Omicron variant will crash holiday travel plans, a recent survey by Medjet (run in mid-November, sent out to an email opt-in base of over 60,000 travelers), showed that prior surges and variants didn’t have travelers rushing to cancel plans. Medjet also announced, as of close of business yesterday, the highest November overall sales in the company’s almost 30-year history. “Travelers definitely seem to still be heading out to destinations near and far,” said John Gobbels, Chief Operating Officer of Medjet.

As of November 15, over 84% of Medjet members who responded had future travel plans in place. 90% reported planning to take a domestic trip in the next nine months (65% within the next three months), and 70% expected to take an international trip within the next nine months (24% within the next three months). While 51% of them reported that previous variants and spikes had affected their future travel plans, only 25% of respondents reported having actually canceled because of them. “Most just changed their destination, or mode of transport, or lodging,” said Gobbels. “Barring any more serious travel bans, which President Biden just announced he does not currently foresee, we expect a large portion of our members to continue traveling despite the emergence of Omicron. Some may need to make new plans if their flights or tours are canceled, or if border closures (like Japan and Israel currently) affect them.”

Additional findings included:

  • 51% said previous variants and spikes had already affected future travel plans (27% answered “no,” 23% weren’t sure yet).
  • 45% said becoming infected with COVID-19 and variants was of concern, while 55% listed other illnesses, injuries or safety threats their top concern.
  • Of those concerned about COVID, only 42% were worried about testing positive and not being able to return; 58% were more concerned about being hospitalized for COVID while away from home. “That’s why we recommend travel insurance with trip interruption that covers COVID, to cover any additional hotel nights and rebooking flights,” said Gobbels, “and a Medjet membership to get moved to a hospital at home should you actually need hospitalization.”
  • Business travel was still way (way) down, with only 2% responding that their next trip would be for business. “This is not surprising,” said Gobbels. “While many of our corporate clients are renewing, and adding employees for coverage, we’re hearing there’s still a big curtailment, especially on international travel.”
  • 70% intend to travel with family, 14% with friends, 14% solo.

“One of the biggest frustrations we hear lately, from members calling in, is how varied the entry requirements are. The advent of entry requirement search tools like SHERPA has been helpful for travelers researching and keeping track of requirements and changes. We actually added it to our website last month to help with that.” Unsurprisingly, when asked about a “globalized travel policy,” where all countries agreed on a single set of entry requirements and restrictions, 67% of Medjet’s members who responded said they wished they were all the same. 22% thought each country should determine their own policies, 11% were undecided. 

As a reminder, the current U.S. Omicron restrictions only apply to foreign nationals. For U.S. citizens and visa holders returning to the U.S., the re-entry requirements are still the same: a negative COVID viral test no more than 3 days prior to return flight for fully vaccinated passengers, no more than 1 day for unvaccinated passengers.

“Keeping up with restrictions via the Department of State’s country-specific Covid information website is imperative if you intend to keep your travel plans. We also always recommend people enroll their trip in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program,” said Gobbels.

News Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Posts

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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