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Americans begin to perceive travel as safer despite COVID-19 surges

23 September 2020 (Edited 23 September 2020)

But there are winners and losers...

MMGY Global's September 2020 Travel Safety Barometer report shows upticks in traveler sentiment regarding travel safety as of 31 August vs.31 July for all categories except Cruise:

Changes in sentiment on a scale of 1 to 100 where 1 = Extremely Unsafe and 100 = Extremely Safe:

  • Domestic travel 45 to 49 (+2)
  • International travel 30 to 32 (+2)
  • Dining and entertainment 43 to 45 (+2)
  • Transportation 64 to 65 (+1)
  • Business travel 35 to 38 (+3)
  • Lodging 47 to 50 (+3)
  • Cruise - flat at 24

In transportation, although people still feel safest traveling by personal car, sentiment also improved for air and rail transport:

  • Personal car - flat at 78
  • Domestic air 38 to 41 (+3)
  • Rail 32 to 37 (+5)

In lodging, the 31 August sentiment index of 50/100 - overall, and for both hotel/resort and vacation rental - was the highest score reported since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, and nearly double the April index of 27.

In dining and entertainment, survey respondents rated top 3 safest activities as:

  1. Going to a park 61
  2. Going to the beach 54
  3. Visiting a bar or restaurant 41

and the 3 activities rated least-safe were:

  1. Attending indoor concert/festival 27
  2. Attending indoor sporting event 29
  3. TIE: Attending theatrical performance/movie and Visiting theme/amusement park 32

Of all aspects of travel, Cruise has been consistently ranked as the least safe:

  • Lowest score since recordkeeping began in March of 14/100 was recorded 8 April.
  • Score improved to 27 in the week of 8 July, but fell to 24 for both 31 July and 31 August.


  • By these numbers, at least for warm weather, winners include:
    • Domestic travel in general
    • Rural destinations with beaches and other outdoor activities
    • Drive destinations
    • To a lesser extent, both air and rail and associated destinations
    • Lodging, across accommodation types
  • And unfortunately there also have to be losers:
    • International travel in general
    • Cruise
    • Indoor events that attract crowds
    • Business travel - and accordingly cities and urban hotels - displaced by teleconferencing

How will these trends change with the onset of colder weather? Stay tuned for updates.

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