Significant numbers of holidaymakers are keen to travel as soon restrictions ease, but many want an empty seat next to them on a flight more than Covid tests at airports, according to consumer research.

A survey across nine major markets found almost one in four UK travellers would be happy to visit a destination without restrictions, regardless of Foreign Office advice.

However, only 43% of UK travellers said they would be “comfortable” taking a flight compared with half across all nine markets and almost two in five (37%) of UK respondents admitting being “uncomfortable” about flying.

Travellers viewed cleaning and face masks as the most important health and safety measures, but 40% said they would prefer an empty seat next to them on an aircraft.

That compared with under 25% who favoured pre-departure testing for Covid-19 and fewer than one in five (18%) who were in favour of airport tests.

The survey, by consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, involved 4,600 adults who flew at least once in 2019 in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US, Canada, China and Australia.

The proportion comfortable to stay in a hotel was also significantly lower in the UK at 48% compared with 60% across all markets.

Yet UK travellers appear more confident using public transport, with more than 40% comfortable to do so against less than one third overall.

The survey found more travellers in the UK, France and Germany planning international trips than domestic breaks for their next holidays, while more respondents in the US, China, Spain and Italy planned domestic trips.

The research, conducted in September and October, found price remains the number-one influence on consumer choice everywhere but China.

However, a separate survey of UK consumers in September on behalf of travel PR and marketing agency Lotus suggested two thirds (66%) of UK travellers would not be swayed by holiday offers.

The Lotus research among 3,000 adults who travelled in the previous two years found one in three (32%) had not changed their travel plans for the next 12 months.

However, 29% said they would not travel abroad until there is a vaccine and another 29% said they would travel abroad less than before.

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