Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of June 22nd

Concerns about contracting COVID-19 have risen back up, but a majority of American travelers still plan to travel in this environment—even taking multiple trips in the remainder of this year. Meanwhile a perceived lack of appropriate pandemic-etiquette behaviors within their own communities is affecting people’s openness to tourists in town.



IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected June 19th-21st.

Key Findings to Know:

With cases rising in several areas of the country, Americans concern about personally or friends/family contracting COVID-19 increased this week. Now half of American travelers feel the coronavirus situation will get worse in the US in the next month and less than 20% feel it will get better. Americans’ perceived safety of various travel activities also worsened this week, returning to the levels they were at 3 weeks ago, and this has caused some to reverse their their travel readiness. However, the increase in outbreaks has not appeared to further rattle their sense of financial security, as concerns about the virus’ impact on their personal finances and the national economy decreased. Baby Boomers do not feel as threatened by the virus in terms of their personal finances, but have graver concerns about its effect on the national economy.



The disproportionate havoc the pandemic has wreaked on travel can be seen in what activities Americans have been committing their leisure time to relative to their pre-COVID 19 lifestyle priorities. Prior to the outbreak, 6 in 10 said that leisure travel was among their highest lifestyle priorities—only behind spending time with family. Yet only 12% report having done any leisure travel in the past month. Meanwhile, Americans have been busying themselves with activities that were far likelier to be a low priority in their lifestyles prior to COVID-19, from gardening to social media.



The coronavirus outbreak also continues to adversely impact trips, with a notable increase this week in pandemic-related trip cancellations in the fall months due to the coronavirus. But there are indicators that these trips may be replaced with other travel. A month ago, 25% of American travelers said the would avoid all travel in the six month period after coronavirus; now just 7% say that. The average American traveler reports they will take 1.8 road trips and 1.0 trip by commercial airline by the end of the year. Excitement to take a trip in the next month increased from last week, as did openness to travel inspiration. Given this openness, travelers currently say they are most receptive to destination marketing in searches and social.



Meanwhile, a perceived lack of appropriate pandemic-etiquette behaviors within their own communities is affecting people’s openness to tourists in town. While many American travelers have felt positive emotions around the reopening of the economy, anxiety and frustration remain present.



After reaching a nine-week low last week, the percent of American travelers who say they do not want visitors coming to their own community right now returned to 56.8%. As shown in the infographic below, observing unsafe behavior by their fellow residents appears to contribute to this sentiment. Trust in people to behave safely should increase comfort in travel and tourism overall.



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