Among the many sectors deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the travel and vacation industry.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, American domestic airline travel decreased by 96% in April 2020.
Additionally, a survey from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in early June, identified that only 45% of people who recently traveled would feel comfortable boarding a plane again, within two months after the pandemic’s eventual ends. This is a decrease from a prior IATA survey, where this number was 60%.
According to, IATA Chief Economist Brian Pierce “if anything, consumers have actually got rather more cautious and we have a majority saying now that they would wait more than six months before traveling. The survey is telling us that passengers are rather cautious.”
Meanwhile, the hotel sector confronts a similar issue. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, there has been an estimated 60% national reduction in hotel occupancy, since the pandemic started. The industry has already lost more than $38 billion in revenue, and 7.7 million hospitality workers have been either furloughed or laid off.
However, there is some positive news, according to the STR, a hospitality data firm. While the hotel industry is suffering, it has started to regain some of its revenue. Jane Freitag, Senior Vice President at STR, says, “the good news is that demand and occupancy continue to rise slowly each week, and while slow, recovery should continue provided the country avoids significant setbacks in its progress against the coronavirus.”
She added that even though the industry has experienced some improvement, it will not fully recover until 2023.
A travel sector that could see an increase are family road trips. A survey from the U.S Travel Association, said that 68% of participants said the safest traveling is by vehicle right now.
Another 45% said that they were more likely to travel by car, than any other option
Data from Ipsos, a market reach company, found that 16% of Americans, who still planned to travel this year were now more likely to it by vehicle now, compared with January 2020.
Additional evidence that suggests that more road trips will boost RV purchases. In a recent statement, Thor Industries, a leading RV manufacturer, said, "seeing an influx of first-time buyers, which bodes well for the long-term health of the RV industry."
The report continues, “One new trend we are seeing is an evolution from 'work at home' to 'work from anywhere' as RV buyers use their new RVs as their office wherever they are, or wherever they want to be. Our channel checks tell us that many of our independent RV dealers are seeing a significant resurgence in their sales, and their inventory levels, which were already down 20% year-over-year, are further declining.”
Ultimately, millions of Americans want to hit the road, regardless of their means of travel.
Omer Rabin, Managing Director for Guesty, an international property software service used by Airbnb, Booking.com, and other major travel websites said “there will be a lot of demand for domestic travel. I think that’s clear to everybody in the industry right now.We see a much better recovery and occupancy for drive-to destinations. People say ‘we don’t know what’s going to happen with flights, but we do know that we’re going to be able to get in the car and drive’.’”