Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Report Findings of March 23, 2021

Despite feeling safer and increasingly more positive, many Americans do expect a longer term impact from the pandemic on their travel, from spending less to sticking outdoors.

Key Findings to Know (Find the full report here):

  • New COVID variants, uncertainty on the current COVID vaccines’ effectiveness with such variants, a European third wave, and Spring Break rowdiness made headlines this week, likely contributing to a small but notable rise in pandemic-related anxiety among American travelers.
  • Those highly concerned about their friends and family contracting the virus rose to 71.0% and 63.3% of American travelers are highly concerned about personally contracting COVID-19. Such concern is higher among women, Millennials, urban dwellers, and those residing in the West and Northeast regions of the U.S.
  • Americans’ high concern about the pandemic’s impact on our national economy may play a role in their feelings towards tourism in their own communities. Among the 46.1% of American travelers who report they would be happy to see an ad promoting tourism to their town of residence, by far the most common reason for this is that it would help local businesses (64.8%).
  • Americans began receiving stimulus checks and travel looks to certainly benefit. 38.3% of those who have or are expecting a stimulus check say they are likely to spend some portion of it on leisure travel. This is even more prevalent among Millennial age travelers, who are, in fact, twice as likely as Boomer age travelers to spend their stimulus money on travel.
  • With nearly two-thirds both in a ready-to-travel mindset and highly open to travel inspiration, a 2021 record-high 73.8% of American travelers did some travel planning and dreaming in the last week alone. 15.8% said they made a travel reservation in the last week.
  • In each of the months from May through October, over 20% of American travelers report having at least tentative trip plans.
  • As Americans are feeling far safer with travel than they were just a few months ago, unlike earlier in the pandemic, they are including air travel in their plans. Right now, 43.9% of air travelers deem flying on a commercial airline as safe. Over 45% of air travelers say their very next trip by commercial airline will be by the end of Summer.
  • Despite feeling safer and increasingly more positive, many Americans do expect a longer-term impact from the pandemic on their travel. Nearly 60% agree that the pandemic has changed their outlook on life overall, with over 20% saying significantly. As a result, 46.9% agree they will put more effort into visiting places on their travel bucket list in the next few years.
  • Many in the travel industry have pondered a more permanent tie to public health—they may be on to something as nearly three-quarters of American travelers agree they will be more safety-conscious while traveling going forward.
  • When asked if the pandemic had changed their opinions about the types of destinations they want to visit for leisure in the future, 41.8% of American travelers said yes. For beach, National Park and other outdoor destinations, this is welcome news as 52.2% of Americans agree they will be visiting these types of destinations more as a result of the pandemic. Urban, entertainment and theme park-focused destinations will face greater challenges in the recovery, as 44.6% of American travelers report they are less likely to visit these places in the next few years because of the pandemic.
  • About four-in-ten American travelers expect they will be sticking closer to home and spending less on their leisure travel in the coming years.

Find the full report here

IMPORTANT: These findings are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Every week since March 15th, Destination Analysts has surveyed 1,200+ American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and explored a variety of topics. The findings presented below represent data collected March 19th-21st.