Ferry company Stena Line has undertaken a major survey* of its customers to gauge attitudes towards this year’s potential travel destinations and preferred modes of travel. 84,309 responses were received from 11 countries across Northern Europe.
Positive sentiment towards car and ferry travel in Europe and neighbouring countries is apparent after COVID-19. It is no surprise that the ability to breath fresh sea air, freedom to move around, and adhering to social distancing is a priority. A summary of the main findings includes:
- Positive news for the travel industry is that overall attitudes towards travel remain strong, with 78% of the respondents saying they will travel ‘the same or more than before’.
- Almost two thirds of the respondents (65%) said they would consider ferry travel over air travel in the wake of COVID-19. When choosing a mode of transport the public are most likely to choose to travel by car and ferry, and less likely to travel by air, coach and by train.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed priorities when choosing how we travel. 83% of said fresh air circulated onboard or the ability to go out on deck was ‘important’ or ‘very important’. While 75% said the ability to move round was also ‘important’ or ‘very important’. In total 72 % rated the importance of getting information by the transport company about safety measures, social distancing and hygiene measures as ‘important’ or ‘very important’.
- In the UK the number one destination is overwhelmingly the island of Ireland for 46% of people, with almost one third (32%) of UK respondents wanting to visit the Republic of Ireland (ROI), and Northern Island the second choice of destination Northern Ireland 14%.
- Similarly the number one destination of choice customers living in the ROI is the UK (33%). With only 7% indicating they would be holidaying in ROI. 90% of respondents indicated they want to holiday in countries not on the ROI’s Green List.
- When asked about reasons for travel there is a marked difference between the UK and Ireland, and rest of Europe. Elsewhere the main single reason for travel is either a holiday or for work. In the UK and Ireland after the long lockdown the number one reason for travel is to visit friends and family: 46% and 41% of respondents, respectively
“We are all going through a challenging situation right now”, Say Tony Michaelsen, Head of Travel for Stena Line. “That’s why we asked our customers how they felt about travel going forward. We can conclude that there is a strong will to start travelling again and that ferry travel seems to be a very popular mode of transport. The ability to bring your own car, move around freely and get fresh air on deck is something that not many other modes of transport can offer.
*About the survey
The online survey was sent via email in the end of June 2020, to over 1 million Stena Line travel customers in eleven countries in Europe that had engaged with Stena Line the past 12 months. The countries are Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and United Kingdom. In total the survey was answered by 84,309 respondents, of which 31,414 were from the UK and 7,078, where from ROI 31,414. One lucky participant per country received €500 travel voucher. Data is available on an aggregated level as well as per country.