As the Coronavirus pandemic took hold and lockdown conditions were instituted, many Americans found their vacation and travel plans disrupted both in those immediate few months, and as we look ahead to an uncertain future. After months of being stuck at home however, many Americans right now are dreaming of a vacation.
With international restrictions still in place and many borders remaining closed to visitors, international travel appears an unlikely prospect for the foreseeable future. This is compounded by a consumer weariness to travelling overseas while we remain in pandemic conditions globally. In countries most impacted by COVID-19, the amount of interest in international travel to and from has dropped significantly. For example, data from Sojern found that foreign searches for lodging in Spain in July are down by 94% year-on-year.
In countries such as China that are further along the process of opening up, we are starting to see encouraging trends towards the growth of domestic travel. Long haul trips to resorts are being replaced by city breaks and more and more Chinese citizens are beginning to travel internally.
Here in the US as lockdown ends, the first thing people want to spend money on is eating out. The second is undoubtedly travel. A consumer survey by McKinsey showed that confidence in domestic travel rose by 60% in May. The number of travelers for the recent May Labor Day long weekend was down 53% from 2019, but that represents a recovery from the April long weekend, when travel was down by 61%. ‘When will it be safe to travel again?’ is now a top trending Google search.
Travelers who were planning vacations abroad this summer are turning their trips inward, and subsequently domestic travel could outweigh the losses of international tourism. Regional destinations and hotels across the US are a good position to rebound because they will capture the redirected international traffic.
As flying and other modes of public transport remain a source of anxiety for many consumers, Americans are turning to their cars. 1 in 3 Americans say they are planning a road trip this summer. Expect to see a strong increase in opportunities for tourism from both in state and out of state in the coming weeks and months.
In recent weeks, we were able to help brands such as Hagerstown-Washington County CVB promote themselves as an easily accessible regional destination this summer with a Visit Hagerstown and Washington County campaign. We put together an extensive campaign across digital and print – with a selection of ROS and homepage digital units across our network including eye-catching interstitials and drop down banners – all of which linked through to a convenient online flip book version of their Visitor Guide. For print, w e also worked with them to produce and insert 30,000 Visitor Guides in our Sunday paper.
Ultimately Americans are exhibiting greater feelings of travel safety in recent weeks.
- Over 50% of respondents in a recent Destination Analysts poll now feel safe taking a road trip, compared to less than 40% in mid-April
- Nearly half feel safe visiting friends and relatives, compared to less than 30% in mid-April
- About 35% feel safe staying at hotels, compared to less than 20% in mid-April
- Two-thirds of those who claim to prioritize their emotional well-being say that leisure travel will be important in helping them do so, and nearly half of those prioritizing stress management agree that vacations are a good way to manage stress:
- The highest-rated relaxing travel experiences include: visiting family and friends (43% selected as a top 3), taking a road trip (35%), staying at a beach resort (34%) and visiting a national park (24%)
To discuss how you can drive tourism both in state and out of state in your area contact your Baltimore Sun Media Representative now.