Increasing Consumer Optimism Could Signal Travel Industry’s Imminent Recovery

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The latest edition of Longwoods International’s tracking study of Americans’ sentiment towards travel has shown that roughly 84 percent of travelers have established travel plans during the next sixth months—the highest level since the pandemic’s early days one year ago.

This represents the third consecutive wave of the survey in which this key metric has come in at over 80 percent. The percentage of travelers who said that COVID-19 will greatly impact their decision to travel in the next six months has fallen to 35 percent, matching the pandemic-era low from the first half of March 2020. The new figure is down from 41 percent just two weeks ago and well below the pandemic’s peak of 66 percent, seen last April.

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“Travel planning continues to accelerate as improving pandemic and vaccine data is released,” said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. “Barring another surge in infections, the beginning of the travel industry recovery appears on target during 2021.”

Even as our collective sense of optimism about the future increases, it seems that safety concerns persist. Only 44 percent of travelers would currently support opening their communities to outside visitors, and 50 percent said they’d feel safe venturing outside of their own communities. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they feel safe when dining at local restaurants or shopping in retail stores in their own communities.

As the world works to gain a grip on the pandemic, 61 percent of those surveyed reported that they find themselves continuing to alter upcoming travel plans because of COVID-19.

With vaccination increasingly becoming an option, 36 percent of respondents said that they plan to hold off traveling until they’ve received the vaccine, and 20 percent will wait until their friends and family have also been inoculated. Nineteen percent are holding off until the majority of their own community has been inoculated; 20 percent prefer to wait until the majority of Americans have been vaccinated, and 19 percent are willing to wait until the majority of people in their intended destination have been immunized. Interestingly enough, 32 percent of those surveyed indicated that the COVID-19 vaccine has no impact at all on their travel-planning.

The COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study-Wave 32 was fielded on February 17, 2021, using a randomly-selected national sample of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and over. Selection quotas were applied in keeping with Census targets for age, gender and region, making the survey as representative of the overall U.S. population as possible. This edition of the survey marks the one-year anniversary of Longwoods’ ongoing study.

Original Article Posted on Travel Pulse – Impacting Travel