Flight bans and country-wide lockdowns due to COVID-19 have grounded most travel activities around the world – including travel reporting. However, a new survey from FINN Partners of global travel journalists reveals a positive travel outlook for travel recovery and a return to travel journalism.
The poll of 300 travel journalists worldwide conducted by FINN Partners, a global public relations firm with travel practice offices in the US, UK and Asia, shows that 83 percent of media respondents continue to search for international travel content from tourism entities. The pandemic has seen the topic of well-being take centerstage, with 51 percent looking for health and wellness information. Sustainable travel outlook continues to be a hot topic with 49 percent indicating interest in stories about ecotourism and environmentally friendly design amongst other measures. Pent-up demand for travel has 73 percent of respondents interested in covering destination-centric stories, 60 percent are keen to cover new hotel openings, and 95 percent are ready for press trips once travel bans are lifted. Asia, US and UK experienced the pandemic in different phases, and the survey results reflect the different regions’ readiness to travel:
- Asia- and US-based journalists are significantly more interested in travel promotions and deals (31 percent and 34 percent, respectively) compared to their UK counterparts (14 percent).
- In terms of travel coverage three months from now, Asia-based journalists are looking further afield at international destinations while US- and UK-based media prefer to stay closer to home and cover domestic and regional destinations. Only 13 percent of US media would like to receive product press releases from overseas travel organizations including airlines, hotels, tourism boards and attractions.
- Media also prefer to cover secluded destinations with low population density.
The survey was run in concert with a “Future of Travel Journalism” webinar hosted by FINN Partners with top international travel media. Key takeaways from the webinar include:
- Travel journalism is thriving - people are thirsty for content and looking to the media for guidance more than ever.
- Destinations will lead travel recovery to a greater degree than any other industry sector.
- Luxury travel will experience a revival - it is naturally socially distancing; and affluence buys safety and space.
- Cruise line collaboration on stricter standards will help restore customer confidence in cruising.
- Future travel will be a combination of disconnect and reconnect as people simultaneously seek solace as well as social contact.
- Sustainability and thoughtful travel will become more important than bucket list travel.
- Weaving compelling content rather than deals and discounts will be more influential in driving travel choices in the pandemic recovery stage.
“Every part of the travel industry is more introspective than before and it’s fascinating to see travel journalists reassessing their role as trusted travel motivators,” says Virginia M. Sheridan, Managing Partner, FINN Partners NY Travel Division. “They are very confident in the resurgence of travel and are helping to lead the way by keeping travel storytelling authentic and compelling.”