Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of June 21st

Americans are feeling the normalizing effects of the grand reopening, with more summer trips planned and minds opened for travel inspiration. However, the renewed travel activity across the country may be causing attitudes towards local tourism to backslide.

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 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data collected June 16th-18th.

Key Findings to Know:

  • Americans are feeling the grand reopening: More than four-in-ten Americans now say that the U.S. is more than 70% back to normal for leisure activities—up from only 26.8% feeling this way in April. While there was little difference by age in this sentiment, those in the Northeast are likeliest to feel the country is closer to normal while those in the West are less likely.
  • Travel is the thing-to-do this summer: Three-quarters of American travelers will take at least one vacation or getaway over the next 3 months. In this same time frame, 15.3% will take a business trip and 7.5% will travel for a conference or convention.
  • Americans want more travel inspiration: The proportion of American travelers highly open to travel content is up to 73.1% this week. In the last week alone, eight-in-ten American travelers did some travel dreaming or planning towards their next trip. Online content/search engine marketing, social media, emails and travel & lifestyle magazines continue to be where Americans say they are most receptive to travel messaging.
  • The increase in travel may be causing attitudes towards local tourism to backslide: This week saw a 7-percentage point increase in the proportion of Americans who say they don’t want tourists in town (to 40.6% from 33.6%). Some of our latest research found that 40% of recent travelers had found other people irritating while out-and-about—could this annoyance be a reason for not wanting tourists in town? In any case, those who don’t want travelers visiting their local community right now demographically skew male, employed, urban-dwelling, Millennial-aged, parent of children under 18. On a positive note, 57.7% of American travelers said they would be happy to see an ad promoting tourism to their own community.
  • Beach destinations look poised for another year of stellar tourism performance: When asked about the destinations they will visit for the remainder of 2021, Americans reported the greatest certainty to visit beach destinations and resorts, and beaches were likeliest to be a primary trip destination, rather than a secondary or pass-through destination (in comparison, cities are similarly likely to be a secondary destination as a primary destination for travelers this year). Boding even better for beach destinations is that Americans demonstrate the greatest excitement for visiting these destinations—56.2% are highly excited to travel to beaches this year, 12 percentage points above National Parks, and 15 percentage points above cities.
  • American travelers’ top passions include Foodie-ism, International Travel, Concerts, Theme Parks, Health & Wellness and Theater Performances: As the pandemic recovery continues, more than 40% of American travelers report having high interest in each of these passions and hobbies.
  • Concerns about side-effects are preventing further vaccination-rate gains: This week, 19.2% of American travelers surveyed said they would not be getting themselves inoculated against COVID-19. When asked their reasons why, concerns about the vaccines’ side effects topped the list (40.1%), closely followed by feeling that the vaccines were not adequately tested (38.8%). On the flip side, about 90% of COVID-19-vaccinated travelers said being vaccinated makes them more comfortable traveling.
  • Follow us on social for infographics of these and other key findings. You can also download recent infographics here. Need assets for a presentation or something else? Find all the presentation decks from our ongoing traveler research here—new decks posted each Tuesday afternoon. And please join us every Tuesday at 11:00am EST for a live presentation of the latest insights into traveler perceptions and behaviors.

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