Update on Coronavirus’ Impact on American Travel–Week of March 30th
Key Findings to Know this Week
66.1% of American travelers report trips affected by COVID-19, essentially flat from last week. While the near-term (March/April) shows the heaviest losses, the percent reporting cancelled and postponed trips in later months is increasing
While Americans predominately attach fear to traveling at the moment, they miss it: two-thirds agree they “can’t wait to get out and travel again” #whencoronavirusisover
However, nearly one-third of American travelers say they will change the types of destinations they choose to visit after the coronavirus situation is resolved; another 26.0% are unsure if they will
In the interim, 55.4% of American travelers have been taking action to support local businesses where they live
As of March 29th, 66.1% of American travelers report having trips affected by COVID-19, essentially flat from last week—and far less dramatic than the 20 percentage point gain between March 15th and 22nd.
While the near-term continues to show the heaviest losses from trip cancellations and postponements, the percent reporting cancelled and postponed trips in later months is increasing as the pandemic wears on.
In considering the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on travel it is critical to note that no data source right now captures the travel volume that never emerged because of the pandemic—the millions of trips that are typically inspired and planned in shorter windows…the lost months of travel.
The good news is that Americans MISS travel. Although when asked the first word they associate with travel right now, expressions of fear dominate (illustrating the excellent sense many Destination Marketing Organizations are demonstrating in their production of beautiful “#stayhomesavelives, we will be waiting to welcome you when it’s safe” content). Nevertheless, two-thirds agree or strongly agree that they “miss travel…I can’t wait to get out and travel again.”
After 9/11, fear was also strongly associated with travel. However, unlike the post 9/11 period, even deep discounts are not motivating Americans to commit to new trips—in fact, 40% disagree that such discounts make them more interested in travel in the next few months. So despite missing going on trips, American travelers appear to be listening to healthcare experts that the virus has the strongest say in their travel fate.
Another sentiment that will be critical to how the travel industry recovers is how Americans feel about the travel they used to do—and if they return to the same set of desires and trip experiences or alter them. As of this week, nearly one-third of American travelers now say they will change the types of destinations they choose to visit after the coronavirus situation is resolved. Another 26.0% are unsure if they will.
While they keep their wanderlust on simmer, American travelers are expressing their appreciation for the people upon whom great culture and experiences are often built. In total, 55.4% of American travelers report taking action to support local businesses where they live.
We appreciate your support of this research from our small but mighty team of devoted tourism researchers. If you would like further and deeper insights from the complete study, you can learn more here.