SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- WeTravel released an industry outlook survey of 592 tour operators to track the impact of COVID-19 in the travel industry. WeTravel (www.wetravel.com), a payment and booking platform for multi-day and group tour operators worldwide, conducted the survey in early April 2020. 42% of the respondents are US-based companies. 59% of the respondents specialize in multi-day tours, while 41% offer day tours.
Almost 90% of the respondents have less than 20 employees, representing small-to-medium sized travel companies. About 75% have been in business for more than 5 years, showing that the crisis has hit established businesses and newer players alike.
Most tour operators have the confidence that travel will pick up again in the fall this year. Almost a third of respondents have rescheduled their trips to the period of June-September 2020. Almost 40% will postpone to October-December 2020. The rest plan to delay all their trips to 2021, while closely monitoring the situation.
Tour operators expect a major decline in revenue in 2020. More than half of the companies surveyed expect to see their 2020 revenue decline by at least 50% compared to that of 2019. 10% of companies even predict a >90% revenue decline this year. This number might grow higher as 21% of respondents are still not sure about the impact of COVID-19 on revenue this year.
Tour operators are caught between a rock and a hard place: travelers ask for refunds while operators' money is tied with their vendors. Almost half of the respondents have managed to give full refunds to their travelers, while 27% are first waiting for refunds from their vendors. However, only 39% of vendors are willing to give full refunds to tour operators, while 11% are not willing to refund at all or even reschedule. Tour operators are trying to resolve the situation by offering travel credits or asking for a longer time horizon to complete refunds.
Most tour operators have a positive outlook for 2021. While 55% of respondents have a negative outlook for the second half of 2020, only 22% have the same outlook for 2021. Almost a third of the companies surveyed have a positive outlook for next year, 26% have a fair outlook, while 21% are still unsure. When asked how long it will take for the industry to recover, 44% believe that it will be 6-12 months.
"COVID-19 has given tour operators challenges that the industry has never experienced before, as shown by these survey results. We need governmental bodies to make policies and provide financial assistance. We are asking for support from travelers by accepting travel vouchers or rescheduling their trips instead of asking for refunds. We are asking for cooperation from our vendors to renegotiate our payments. Only if we do this together, the industry can survive," said Zaky Prabowo, CMO/co-founder of WeTravel.
WeTravel is a payment and booking management platform that allows multi-day tour operators and organizers to create stunning booking pages, accept payments efficiently, manage bookings, and pay vendors. WeTravel is based in San Francisco and Amsterdam with over 3000 clients worldwide.
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