Destination Analysts reports that despite feeling safer and increasingly more positive, many Americans do expect a longer term impact from the pandemic on their travel, from spending less to sticking outdoors.
New COVID variants, uncertainty on the current COVID vaccines’ effectiveness with such variants, a European third wave, and Spring Break rowdiness made headlines this week, likely contributing to a small but notable rise in pandemic-related anxiety among American travelers. The proportion of American travelers that feel the pandemic situation will get worse in the U.S. in the next month rose over 7% to 18.5%, after hitting a low of 11.1% last week. Similarly, those highly concerned about their friends and family contracting the virus rose to 71.0% after being at a low of 65.4% two weeks ago. This week, 63.3% of American travelers are highly concerned about personally contracting COVID-19. Such concern is higher among women, Millennials, urban dwellers, and those residing in the West and Northeast regions of the U.S.
Also happening in the last week: Americans began receiving stimulus checks due to the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act. Over half of American travelers surveyed believed they would receive some payment from this legislation. Travel looks to certainly benefit from this injection of money into citizen’s hands, as 38.3% of those who have or are expecting a stimulus check say they are likely to spend some portion of it on leisure travel. This is even more prevalent among Millennial age travelers, who are, in fact, twice as likely as Boomer age travelers to spend their stimulus money on travel (48.4% vs 24.9%).
With nearly two-thirds both in a ready-to-travel mindset and highly open to travel inspiration, Americans are dreaming, planning and booking travel at increasingly higher rates. A 2021 record-high 73.8% of American travelers did some travel planning and dreaming in the last week alone. Day-dreaming about vacationing and talking to people about their future trips were each reported by over one-third of American travelers. Nearly 30% researched travel ideas online. Meanwhile, 15.8% said they made a travel reservation in the last week; of this group, 57.0% booked a hotel room while 42.1% bought airline tickets. In each of the months from May through October, over 20% of American travelers report having at least tentative trip plans.
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