New research from the American Travel Association and destination analysts shows this could be a possibility.
Only about one in eight Americans (12%) are planning a spring break trip this year, according to Destination Analysts survey data, and that’s less than the week before, during which 16% of Americans planned to travel. This suggests that travelers who are wary of traveling during the pandemic may defer their plans until more people are vaccinated.
For those who work in the travel industry, these figures are another blow in the short term for the tourism industry, which accounts for 39 percent of jobs lost in the country. However, it could be good news for a sustained long-term recovery.
“Travel is a central pillar of the US economy, so an overall recovery will only be possible if Washington moves quickly to keep the industry on its feet,” said the President and CEO of the Travel Association of America. , Roger Dow. “A true return to travel can also happen once the pandemic has decisively passed, and we all have an important role to play: getting vaccinated as soon as possible and not becoming complacent about wearing masks and other important health practices.” .
In a press conference with reporters, Dow discussed the timing and importance of the recovery in light of recent spring break investigation by destination analysts.
“It’s unclear when travel will fully recover, but it will certainly take longer if we don’t have the ability to open business trips, which will basically increase jobs,” he said. “Some say it (recovering) from COVID could take five years unless we have decisive federal action to help our industry. It is important to help our industry to recover and to have the right policies to stimulate travel because when people travel, more people work and more people pay taxes, and our economy and our jobs take off. ”
Dow is encouraged by the proposals that are making their way on Capitol Hill in the form of the new $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill just passed in the Senate and the bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Employment Recovery Act.
For those traveling during the spring, the association has updated the health and safety guide under “Traveling in the new normal.” Recommendations include business adaptations to create healthy environments, advocate for contactless transactions, promote the use of masks, and encourage vaccinations for maximum travel safety.
“We now have a collective understanding of best practices,” said Dow. “The evidence is very clear, without eliminating this pandemic, traveling is going to be very difficult, so until we get to the tipping point of herd immunity, masks are still very important, hand washing and social distancing. If you are sick, don’t travel, stay home. ”
Dow noted that even though it’s been a disastrous 12 months to travel, Americans are shifting from no travel at all to planning trips and looking to the future.
“If we do the right thing from a health standpoint,” Dow said, “there will be a light at the end of this very dark year-long tunnel.”