As the first UK commercial flight successfully returned to Saint Lucia earlier this week, a new survey among travel agents reveals the latest hopes and fears of holidaymakers from around the world.
The island officially re-opened its borders in June and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) carried out the research recently with 1,200 travel agents and operators from the island’s main source markets – the US, UK, Canada and the Caribbean, to ascertain consumers’ propensity to travel amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The results come as international flights return to Saint Lucia during the first phase of its reopening.
British Airways is the first UK carrier to fly, following American Airlines, Delta and JetBlue from the US.
Travel industry professionals reported that demand is picking up from all markets with two thirds reporting an increase in enquiries for the Caribbean in the last 30 days.
Bookings look set to spike in October.
The Brits lead the way with willingness to travel again as 61 per cent say they would be prepared to take a trip with protocols in place.
Only 38 per cent of US travellers and 37 per cent of Canadian holidaymakers agreed.
The most popular type of holiday was the search for sun but overall, a significant one in seven (15 per cent) wanted to take a trip to celebrate a milestone, showing how much holidays mean to people.
Travel agents reported that the most popular destinations were Spain, Thailand and the Caribbean.
However, all travellers have concerns.
In addition to advising travellers on safety measures and clear protocols, more than half of the agents from each market are also of the view that discounts and other offers from hotels would encourage consumers to travel to Saint Lucia.
Patricia Charlery-Leon, SLTA director in the UK & Ireland, said: “People are generally willing to travel and our role is to give them confidence when choosing where to go.
“Saint Lucia has recorded very low levels of infection.
“This combined with measure of protection including an excellent track and trace system and the lack of crowds on our small island mean that we are ready to welcome visitors back.”