Prospects for steady increase in travel activity

SOS International has analysed the data and predicted the nature of travel assistance that will be required during the winter season.

The autumn holidays was a successful event in the Nordic countries. The insights from the autumn holidays are now being used as a basis for planning the winter season 2021/22, and it is particularly expected that many Nordic citizens will travel on ski holidays.

This is how the autumn holidays went
As expected, the Nordic holiday weeks meant increased activity at SOS International’s travel assistance alarm centre.

In October, when the Nordic countries hold autumn holidays in weeks 41-44, the alarm centre for travel assistance experienced activity level close to 60 percent of that in 2019 (before COVID-19). In 2020, when the pandemic applied the brakes on travel for most part of the year, the activity level was 27 percent of that in 2019.

- We experienced the autumn holidays as a definite breakthrough for travel. It seems that the citizens of the Nordic countries have had the urge to go out and experience the world again, says Karin Tranberg, EVP in Travelcare, SOS International.

Danes and Swedes each make up approx. one third of the cases, while Norwegians and Finns have had more limited travel activity and account for 18 and 17 per cent of the cases, respectively.

In the vast majority of cases where Nordic travellers needed travel assistance during the autumn holidays, the country that was most hit was Spain. As many as 33 percent of the cases concern Spain. Greece accounts for eight percent and Turkey seven percent.

Compared to the summer holidays, when changing restrictions and requirements complicated the case processing at the alarm centre, COVID-19 mattered less during the autumn holidays. In the span of a few months, the World has become a little more accustomed to travelling across the borders again, and travellers have become more experienced in seeking information about local restrictions.

Expect busy ski season
Following optimism in September, when the authorities in the Nordic countries relaxed travel restrictions, COVID-19 is now once again playing blind partner in winter season travel.

- We are preparing for a busy winter season, where we will see a gradual increase in the number of cases. However, we still do not know much regarding how COVID-19 will affect the winter, says Karin Tranberg.

The uncertainties mean that SOS International does not expect a larger need for travel assistance for travellers in Asia and the USA. But like other players in the travel industry, it is expected that ski holidays will become widespread over the winter.

Read more: Avoid injuries during your skiing holiday – start training now

- We expect that over the winter season we will reach about 60 percent of our “normal” volume. But as it appears now, we are keeping our fingers crossed about how the pandemic will develop, says Karin Tranberg.

The preparations include hiring staff, pre-booking airports for repatriation and the usual monitoring of treatment points at travel destinations - both in terms of quality and price.

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Are you travelling and in need of acute assistance?

Contact SOS International's alarm centre on +45 7010 5050.

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