Travelers Struggle to Assess Safety of Travel Amid Delta Variant
According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, rising vaccination rates, break-through infections of vaccinated Americans, increasing case numbers and deaths tied to the Delta variant of COVID-19 is confounding travel planning. While 90% of travelers do have travel plans in the next six months, a third report that the virus will greatly impact their travel plans in the next six months with some now postponing trips.
While concerns over COVID-19 continue to be top of mind for many American travelers during travel planning, they are split when it comes to the implementation of health and safety protocols at destinations. Half of travelers cite having clear health and safety protocols as being important when deciding where to travel. However, 44% says that having no travel restrictions at potential destinations is important to them when making these plans.
“Uncertainty about the future path of the pandemic is taking its toll on traveler confidence,” said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. “The impact of both Labor Day gatherings and back-to-school for tens of millions of primary, secondary and college students on the spread of the virus probably won’t be known for weeks. Expect last-minute cancellations and bookings and volatility in visitation over the coming months.”
Only 57% of travelers feel safe traveling outside their communities, the lowest level since March. Meanwhile, less than half support opening their communities to visitors, also the weakest percentage since March. This is important as 40% of travelers cite feeling welcome as a key component to destination selection.
As concerns over health and safety persist with the current state of the pandemic, American travelers are planning to head outdoors on their upcoming trips. Six of the top-ten planned activities can be done outdoors. The prevalence of the road trip will continue with half of travelers planning to take to the highways this fall travel season.
The survey, supported by Miles Partnership, was fielded September 1, 2021 using a national sample randomly drawn from a consumer panel of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and over. Quotas were used to match Census targets for age, gender, and region to make the survey representative of the U. S. population.