Coronavirus Surge Making Travelers Wary, Survey Shows

A recent survey found that the share of travelers who feel safe traveling outside of their communities has fallen in the last few weeks as coronavirus cases increase.

THE SHARE OF U.S. travelers who are planning to change their travel plans because of the coronavirus has jumped in the last several weeks, and support among Americans for opening up their communities to visitors is at its lowest level since mid-May amid a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Air and car travel have been steadily increasing in recent months after essentially flatlining in March and April amid coronavirus-related restrictions and lockdown orders. The travel and hospitality sector has added millions of jobs back onto the payrolls as restrictions are lifted and consumer demand rebounds, but a decline in consumer confidence spurred by the rise in coronavirus cases could upend the industry once again.

According to a survey conducted on July 1 by Longwoods International, a travel industry research and consulting firm, 76% of travelers are planning to alter their future plans because of coronavirus, up from 69% at the beginning of June. The share of travelers who say they will cancel their plans completely has also jumped from 37% in mid-June to 45% at the start of July.

Sixty-five percent of travelers have travel plans in the next six months, down from about 70% in June.

"Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in many states are changing consumer attitudes and actions regarding travel," Amir Eylon, president and chief executive officer of Longwoods International, said in a statement. "The negative data on the pandemic and reversals in reopening plans are taking their toll on the outlook for the U.S. travel industry."

Though the percentage who say that the coronavirus would greatly impact their travel decisions has remained relatively steady since mid-June, fewer travelers are comfortable leaving their own communities. Only 41% of travelers surveyed in early July said they feel safe traveling outside their communities, down from 46% just two weeks prior. And the share of people who say they feel comfortable eating at a restaurant or going to a retail shop even in their own communities has also fallen, declining to 40% this month from 47% in mid-June.

Americans are also wary of letting others in: Just 34% say they support opening up their communities to visitors, the lowest figure since mid-May and a drop from 46% at the beginning of June.

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