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Negative travel sentiment due to COVID-19 trending down

20 May 2020 (Edited 21 May 2020)

Longwoods International travel sentiment survey data from 29 April 2020

Survey data collected by Longwoods International on 29 April 2020 from a US-wide sample of 1000 adults aged 18+ found:

  • 79% of those planning to travel in the next 6 months said they will change their plans because of COVID-19:
    • 48% will cancel completely.
    • 44% will cut back travel plans.
    • 25% will switch from a fly destination to a drive destination.
    • 12% will change from an international destination to a domestic destination.
    • % intending to change travel plans peaked at 85% on 8 April.
    • % intending to cancel completely peaked at 53% on 1 April.
    • % intending to switch from fly to drive destination has fluctuated between 17% and 30% since 11 March.
  • Factors respondents said will greatly impact their travel decisions in the next 6 months - top 3:
  1. COVID-19 (cited by 55%)
  2. Concerns about the economy (22%)
  3. Transportation costs (15%)
  • Citations of COVID-19 as greatly impacting travel decisions peaked at 67% on 1 April.
  • Share of respondents planning to travel in the next 6 months reached a minimum of 65% on 1 April.
  • First trip respondents said they plan to take in the next 6 months:
    1. By car to visit friends/relatives within 200 miles (20%)
    2. By car to visit friends/relatives beyond 200 miles (19%)
    3. By air to visit friends/relatives in the USA (13%)
    4. Leisure travel by car within 200 miles not to visit friends/relatives (12%)
    5. Leisure travel by car beyond 200 miles not to visit friends/relatives (12%)
    6. Leisure travel by air within USA not to visit friends/relatives (10%)
    7. No trip (8%)
    8. International trip not to Canada or Mexico (3%)
    9. Vacation at home (2%)
    10. International trip to Canada or Mexico (1%)

Comments based on these numbers:

  • 48% of the US travel market going away is very bad news.
  • Any destination with a large diaspora - especially one concentrated within a 200-mile radius - is most likely to see visitors in the next 6 months - but because these will be VFR trips, hotel and restaurant spend may be relatively low.
  • Airlines will likely continue to lose trip share to cars by double-digit percentages for at least the rest of 2020.
  • Border closures and other travel restrictions, along with reduced airline capacity, will severely limit US outbound international travel for at least the rest of 2020.
  • But mean negative travel sentiment may have peaked in the first week of April. (Good!)

Be sure also to read results of more travel-intention research behind the Related Listings, below.

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