Dr Zuzana Behringer, Assistant Professor at Budapest Metropolitan University, and students of the METU Tourism Talent Workshop examined the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior, purchasing decisions and changes in preferences in tourism.
The epidemic has plunged tourism into a deep crisis: its sales volume fell by 74% in 2020, 62 million jobs out of 334 million were lost, and its contribution to global GDP was halved from 10% (5.5%) (UNWTO). Demand has responded very resiliently to this crisis, and the demand for travel, which has become a basic need for consumers, has not disappeared, it has only changed.
In order to survive the epidemic, the population is feeling tired in every respect. However, neither during the pandemic nor in the future they want and cannot completely give up their leisure travels, so follow the rules, make big concessions, but still want to travel
– She summarized the findings of the research by Dr. Zuzana Behringer, who added that hygiene and health safety remain important, and traveling to maintain mental and physical health is an absolute priority.
In 2020, compared to 2019, most respondents (83%) reduced the number of trips, traveling more (68%) only domestically, choosing a closer location (65%) and spending less (64.9%). Motivations to travel have changed: the importance of maintaining mental and physical health has grown exponentially.
After the partial openings, the demand for travel increased, and with the fear of the pandemic, quarantines and closures also having a negative impact on the mental health of the Hungarian population, the issuance emerged strongly as a new motivation for travel. By 2019, in addition to the dominance of entertainment (83.4%), sightseeing (70.1%), adventure (55.9%), entertainment (52.1%), new cultures and getting to know people (39%) played a very important role, with quarantine escaping playing a very important role. It is the main consideration for travel for 39 percent of respondents in 2020 and 57 percent in 2021.
As a result, there has been an increased demand for outdoor activities, be it hiking, passive rest or leisure. The biggest losers in the pandemic are cultural programmes, sightseeing, learning about new cultures and people, getting adventures, health services, visiting relatives and friends, and language motives—these motives were lower on trips planned for 2021.
The importance of cleanliness is valued and reflected as a basic requirement in the selection of destinations and accommodation. There was a significant increase in the proportion of those who traveled alone and stayed in independent guest houses with smaller family or smaller groups of friends – so they could be separated from other travelers.
As a result of the increase in vaccination, travel decisions planned for 2021 have led to bolder consumer decisions based on all demographics. The Hungarian population tried to make up for the restricted and lost flights as much as possible. More and more people are planning to try to return to their travel habits into 2019 because it has taken so long for them to continue canceling their previous trips. It was usual for consumers to react immediately depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation, the proportion of vaccination rates and the relaxation of epidemiological rules in the host countries. More people have planned trips than in 2020, when trips are mainly scheduled for summer. Those looking to take a vacation can expect their tourism spending to increase.
Cover Photo: Getty Images
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