MMGY Travel Intelligence data released this week shows positive signs that increasing numbers of travelers intend to get moving once the pandemic passes. MMGY has been conducting the Traveler Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS), commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, since the end of March to measure the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. leisure and business travelers.

Among the key findings, road trips and travel to destinations closer to home will likely 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 last 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.

The following are additional highlights from the latest results.

  • A slowing in the spread of COVID-19 worldwide and the CDC 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.
  • 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 prior. 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. And, travelers aged 50-64 years continue to be the age group least concerned.

Additionally, the percentage of travelers who agreed that they are more likely to travel by car after COVID-19 passes increased 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. This was especially true for older travelers.

The survey also found that as the pandemic continues, plans that were once postponed are increasingly being cancelled. The most impacted are those that require longer-term planning and more expense such as vacations, flights, conferences and sporting and theatrical events. The largest shift has been in overall vacation plans, where those saying they’ve now cancelled a vacation increased from 58 percent in Wave II to 66 percent in Wave III.

For the full report, visit mmgyintel.com/travel-intentions-pulse-survey-tips-impact-covid-19. For more on the future of travel, visit #AmazingDaysAhead.