Latest MMGY survey highlights tourism recovery drivers

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A slowing in the spread of COVID-19 worldwide and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reducing risk advisory levels continue to be the most important factors impacting decisions to travel in the next six months. Getty Images

MMGY Travel Intelligence’s latest biweekly Traveler Intentions Pulse Survey, commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, revealed that road trips and travel to destinations closer to home likely will drive much of the tourism recovery once pandemic restrictions on travel are lifted. The percentage of travelers who agreed that they are more likely to travel by car after COVID-19 passes increased in the past two weeks from 35 percent in Wave II to 47 percent in Wave III. And, the percentage who said they are more likely to travel to destinations close to home increased from 36 percent in Wave II to 42 percent in Wave III. This was especially true for older travelers.

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In addition, a slowing in the spread of COVID-19 worldwide and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reducing risk advisory levels continue to be the most important factors impacting decisions to travel in the next six months. However, there are also signs that travelers are increasingly looking for travel restrictions to be lifted to make a travel decision. The percentage of travelers who indicated an easing of travel restrictions would impact their decision to travel increased from 45 percent in Wave II to 53 percent in Wave III.

Other highlights from the survey:

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  • Consumers’ interest in travel may ultimately be eclipsed by lingering concerns about either safety or their ability to pay for it. Six in 10 respondents say they will be eager to travel for leisure once the COVID-19 emergency has passed, up from 54 percent in Wave II. Yet, just 38 percent say they are likely to take a leisure trip in the next six months.
  • In Wave III, travelers were slightly less concerned about the threat of contracting COVID-19 than they were just two weeks earlier. In particular, the concern about others in their household contracting the virus dropped from 40 percent in Wave II to 34 percent in Wave III. Travelers aged 50-64 years continue to be the age group least concerned.
  • After dropping noticeably in Wave II, travelers’ perceptions of safety across various forms of transportation and travel increased in Wave III. This is likely due to the fact that mainstream media’s coverage of optimism about “flattening the curve” corresponded closely with when Wave III was in the field.

This survey is conducted biweekly among 1,200 U.S. residents who have taken an overnight trip for either business or leisure in the past 12 months. Wave II of the survey was conducted April 4-11 and Wave III was conducted April 17-22.

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