April 20, 2020/in Coronavirus /by Destination Analysts
As American travelers increasingly feel better that the worst of the coronavirus may soon be over, one-in-five say a trip will be one of their first post-shelter-in-place activities.
Between April 17 and 19 Destination Analysts interviewed 1,238 American travelers as to their travel intentions.
Key Findings to Know
American travelers continue to feel better that the worst of COVID-19 may be on the horizon. Now 34.1% think the situation will improve in the U.S. in the next month up, from 29.5% last week. The impact they feel the pandemic will have on their personal finances is at a five-week low (6.6 on a 10-point scale). Additionally, the perceived safety of travel activities has improved this week relative to last week.
Excitement levels towards taking a getaway in the next month remain low but are at a 5-week high (4.5/10.0). Similarly, interest in learning about travel destinations remains low but is also at the highest it’s been since March 15th (5.1/10.0). Boomers’ motivation to travel because of discounts and deals bounced back (up to 35.8% from 25.3% a week ago).
When presented a list of leisure and personal activities and asked to select the first things they were going to do when shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted, 22.5% said taking a trip would be among their top 5. Taking a trip comes behind dining out and hangouts with friends, grooming services and shopping in a retail store, and beats going out on a date or to the gym. Indeed, 70.2% of American travelers say they miss travel this week–with 38.6% strongly agreeing they do.
Regarding timing, American travelers increasingly don’t believe or are unsure that the pandemic will be resolved by the summer travel season (44.5% disagree it will). Americans with travel impacted by coronavirus is up 75.3% from 72.8%. The number reporting trip cancellations increased (70.3% from 66.9%), particularly in May and June. Nevertheless, 51.2% continue to feel they will be traveling by Fall, with reported increases in travel plans for September and October.
Again, there remain continued signs that travel is unlikely to quickly return to what it was pre-pandemic. The numbers of American travelers saying they will choose regional rather than long-haul destinations (50.8%) this year continues to grow and is at the highest recorded levels since this study began. More than half of travelers say they will take a staycation this summer (51.3%), and 45.4% say they will take more road instead of airline trips.
36.5% of American travelers say they agree to some degree with the statement “I’m not traveling until there is a (COVID-19) vaccine”; 43.2% disagree. Younger travelers were actually the most likely to agree they may not travel until there is a vaccine.
77.4% of American travelers say they would approve of mandatory health screenings for flights between destinations inside the continental United States. 76.5% feel positively about the notion of mandatory health screenings at airports and 61.2% say such measures will increase their confidence traveling to a destination.
The present moment is not the time to travel in the U.S., according to the majority of American travelers. Over two-thirds say they do not want other travelers coming to their community right now.
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Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.