It appears that U.S. travelers are undeterred by the threat of coronavirus as well as the high transport cost and will carry on with their plans to travel domestically and abroad. Based on the market research consultancy, 90% of respondents said that they are planning to go on a trip in the next six months.
Americans’ dwindling fear of COVID-19’s health risk seems to largely contribute to the positive sentiment. Based on the survey, only 21% (compared to January’s 32%) said that the pandemic will “greatly impact” their travel in the next months. Seventy-three percent (73%) also indicated they feel safe traveling outside of their communities, while 38% said that COVID-19 will not affect their plans.
Domestic travel remains a strong preference with many as 29% of the respondents opting to travel within the U.S. rather than overseas and 23% prefer a destination they can drive to as opposed to riding a plane.
But as concerns over coronavirus fade, worries over rising gas prices remain. A solid 38% of the respondents said that the continuous price increase of gas will greatly impact their travel plans for the next six months. A third also said that they are going to lessen the number of their trips as well as pick places that are closer to home.
Amir Eylon, the CEO and President of Longwoods International explained that because of the rising gas prices, the usual pattern of travelers during the summer and spring seasons might be altered as they try to find ways to stick to their budget. “The push-pull of pandemic versus gas prices will require the tourism industry to be nimble as demand fluctuates and travel costs weigh on consumers who are paying significantly more at the pump,” he added.
On the other hand, many travel professionals believe rising gas prices will not make a significant impact on the travel industry. Currently, the average cost of gas per gallon in the U.S. is around $4.24, a 33% increase compared to the average price of $3.20 recorded in October last year. But with the pent-up demand to travel after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, a majority of travelers remain unfazed.