Optimism about the coronavirus situation in the U.S. has plummeted. American travelers’ expectation that the coronavirus situation will get worse in the next month has made a significant jump from 19.6% the week of July 12th to 43.0% this week—surpassing expectations that the situation will get better (32.0%) for the first time since the week of February 1st. This worsening expectation has impacted Americans’ excitement to travel right now (68.2%, down from 72.6%), personal health concerns (56.6%, up from 49.5%) and their confidence in the ability to travel safely right now (49.3%, down from 52.9%).
Negative associations with travel are on the rise again. When asked to give ONE WORD that best describes how they feel about travel right now, Americans’ top response was “exciting” the week of July 12th. Now, they mostly feel “good” about travel; however, the number of people citing “unsafe,” “nervous,” “worried,” or “anxious” is growing.
Regression in safety perceptions has caused Americans to feel we’ve lost ground on the progress made towards a return to normalcy. Due to recent media coverage of the COVID-19 situation, 44.8% are now doubting that it is safe to go out and about and 45.0% doubt that it is safe to travel now. These decreased feelings of safety have led to a drop in perceptions of normalcy. This week, less than one-in-three (32.3%) American travelers feel that the U.S. is close to “normal” in terms of resuming leisure activities—down 10 percentage points from 42.7% the week of July 12th.
The Delta variant is disrupting Americans’ travel plans. Recent news about increasing Delta variant cases have made half of American travelers less interested in traveling right now (53.6%, up from 51.0% the week of July 12th). In fact, a quarter (25.4%) have postponed an upcoming trip and 18.9% have cancelled a trip specifically due to the Delta variant. In addition, overnight trips appear to be in decline—this week 43.8% of Americans said they took at least one such trip in the past month which is down from 49.6% who said the same the week of July 12th.
On a brighter note, big cities and metropolitan areas continue to make gains in recovery. Among those who took an overnight trip in the past month, cities/metro areas were the top destination type visited (39.3%), followed by small towns (30.9%) and beach destinations (26.9%). Due to recent COVID outbreaks, some cities have reinstated indoor mask requirements and while 15.7% of American travelers are opposed, 68.2% support this requirement.
Source: Destination Analysts Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment-Week of July 26th 2021