On Thursday’s CBS This Morning show, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and member of the White House’s COVID-19 task force, told hosts that summer travel is possible if the country is prepared to deal with the ongoing impact of coronavirus spread.
“It can be in the cards,” Fauci said on Thursday.
Fauci stressed caution about any plans for the summer because of how quickly things can change once the U.S. starts opening up communities that have been locked down since COVID-19 began to rapidly spread.
However, he did say that “if we do the things that we need to do to prevent the resurgence” that life, including travel, could start to the process of returning back to normal in the summer.
“And I say that with some caution, because as I said, when do that that, we pull back and try to open up the country…we have to be prepared,” he said. “When infections start to rear their heads again,” he added, “we have to have it in place a very aggressive and effective way to identify, isolate, contract trace, and make sure we don’t have those spikes we have now.”
Right now, most of the U.S. is still in the midst of the 30 day plan that officials put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. It’s unclear how things will open up, or whether things will change, once those 30 days are over, but Fauci said “it is very likely” that communities will start the process of normalizing after the 30 days are up.
“I think that’s going to be a good time to look and see how quickly we can make that move to try and normalize. But hopefully, and hopefully, by the time we get to the summer we will have taken many steps in that direction. “
The words from Fauci are good news for anxious travelers who are seeking some return to normalcy after being forced to cancel spring or summer plans because of COVID-19. MMGY’s TIPS survey for March 27 found as much—39% of travelers say they will take a domestic leisure trip in the next six months, down from 82% before COVID-19 began to have its most significant impact.
When things do start their road to recovery, MMGY’s Clayton Reid told TMR, travel advisors will play a major role in that recovery.
“As the travel industry fights to recover, third parties and travel agents will be increasingly important for travelers, both as a source of calm and information, but also as an important guide on rates and booking in what will be an increasingly competitive market. Agents will also play a key role in lifting the cruise industry as tens of thousands tell the story of cruising,” he said.