- Özgür Töre
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world, travel warnings have been issued and travel is down across the world. Recent surveys reveal that Americans miss traveling but they had no plans to travel again until 2021.
According to the Destination Analysts' Coronavirus Travel Sentiment tracking study (collected March 27-29), Americans associate the state of traveling in the present moment with expressions of fear. However, the two-thirds agree or strongly agree that they "miss travel…I can't wait to get out and travel again."
Yet a sentiment that will be critical to how 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 (29.0%). Another 26.0% are unsure if they will. When probed as why they feel this way, these travelers said things such as "I won't visit any place where a lot of people go," "I will not travel anywhere that has not shown virus cases to be 0%," "I will probably be more local with only one person in party," "I will be camping, instead of relying on how others clean and care for different spaces," and "I will be spending more time doing individual things and outdoor activities."
Another survey by Upgraded Points asked a variety of questions to 1,250 people in the U.S., about their travel plans, concerns around those plans, and asking them to identify what would make them feel most comfortable about traveling again. The makeup of those surveyed include 55% male and 45% female, further broken down into six different age range groups, representing adults aged 18 through 65 and up. By far, the largest group of those surveyed fell into the 26–34 range, representing 39% of the whole.
Overall, the majority of Americans questioned clearly stated that their biggest traveling concern was the COVID-19 virus. But the study broke that question down into a variety of other specific concerns to help reveal the nuanced complexities around the topic. When asked what worried them most – contracting the virus personally or passing it on to others – the majority of Americans responded they were most concerned about contracting the virus themselves. Though 32% of those asked did express concerns about passing the disease on to others, while still others expressed concern about becoming part of overall community spread. These results are further categorized into specific age ranges as well.
Americans were also asked when they plan to begin traveling again, under what circumstances, and at which airline ticket price. The answers were arranged based on the choices given: an immediate time frame (the next two weeks), then monthly, all the way into 2021. The overwhelming majority stated they had no plans to travel again until 2021, representing 20% of those surveyed.
Americans were also given a series of factors to choose from, representing what would make them feel more comfortable traveling, and at which ticket prices. Factor choices given include: Enough Time Has Passed, No New COVID-19 Cases, and Government or Health Officials Give the "All-Clear" to Travel. The results were compiled into percentages, price ranges and further classified into specific age groups.