While the world continues to deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most U.S. travelers are already considering where and when to take their next trip. In fact, up to 72% of American travelers have already begun making plans for future travel, according to a recent survey by luxury tour operator Overseas Leisure Group.
Although global travel has been suspended for weeks and social distancing guidelines are quickly becoming the new norm, this lockdown period seems only to have enflamed Americans’ wanderlust.
“After more than six weeks of confinement, dreams of resuming our adventures are increasingly front-of-mind,” said Felix Brambilla, CEO of Overseas Leisure Group.
“We are seeing a higher-than-usual interest in more secluded staycations, away from the crowds, and domestic destinations where regulations are less likely to be an obstacle.”
The nation-wide survey queried 2,000 travelers across the country between April 20 and 22, and the results revealed several emerging trends among prospective U.S. travelers, including that Americans are anxious to start traveling again.
The survey found that 72% of American travelers are already planning their next trip, with 35% of travelers considering vacationing as early as this summer.
Despite the lingering doubt about when it will be safe to travel again, as much as 42% of American travelers seem willing to book future travel now, so long as it doesn’t require a deposit, and the supplier waives cancellation fees.
U.S. travelers seem generally optimistic about the outbreak’s impact on the travel industry at large, with 82% of respondents considering the travel market to only be on pause rather than permanently transformed. The survey also found that 78% of travelers are prepared to use air travel to get to future destinations, and 45% say that they were willing to travel outside of the U.S. for their next trip.
Barbara Hammer, a New York-based travel advisor with Ovation Travel, had to endure a “landslide” of travel cancellations at the early onset of the outbreak, as travel was grinding to a halt. However, over the last few days she’s received numerous rebooking requests, indicating that many of her clients are feeling ready to travel again soon.
“It seems that after almost three weeks of keeping isolated, New Yorkers are beginning to feel the wanderlust and are looking forward to life post-COVID-19,” said Hammer.
“Although we in the travel industry don't want to receive cancellation after cancellation, this new trend towards rebooking seems to indicate that clients do want to travel and want something positive to look forward to.”
While there is still a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding when travel can start back up again, the sheer volume of expectant holiday makers show optimistic signs for the tourism industry’s recovery, both in the short and long-term.
“For my clients, travel is an important leisure component of their lives, almost a necessity to their happiness,” said Ginger Morrissey, a leisure advisor for Travelong of Summit, a New Jersey-based travel agency and branch of Ovation. She says that now is a great time to start booking future trips, before the increased demand starts driving prices higher.
“Whether it’s a family gathering, or a quick beach break, or a major expedition, they generally know they need to book early to get the experience they want at a good price. They know that the demand, once it’s safe to travel again, will be enormous, and it’s smart to book now for later this year or next year before the country-wide pent-up demand leads to higher prices and lower availability,” said Morrissey.