A rapidly progressing program aimed at vaccinating Americans against coronavirus is welcome news to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is understandably eager to see the travel industry rebound from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
Julie Heizer, deputy-director of the department’s National Travel and Tourism Office, told a June 30 Brand USA webinar more than 179 million Americans have now received one vaccination dose and 57% of the population is now fully vaccinated, with vaccinations seen as key to restoring confidence in travel.
Heizer reported that the number of hotel guests and airline passengers in the U.S. is on the rise, as is travel spending.
As well, research suggests that 43% of American households plan to take a trip in the next six months, she continued.
“Isn’t it great to be able to have some good news these days?” Heizer asked.
However, Heizer also warned that “this doesn’t mean that things are back in the black,” as international inbound travel to the United States remains “deeply depressed.”
Heizer cautioned that it “will really be some time before” coronavirus is brought under control in many parts of the world.
Coronavirus variants remain a concern for the travel industry as well, she added.
Rosina Barbastefano, Brand USA’s director of consumer research, said there will likely be a gradual return to normalcy for travel, adding international travel may not fully recover until 2024.
Barbastefano said travellers will need to feel safe before agreeing to travel and will also look at the number of coronavirus-related restrictions they’ll have to contend with before deciding to set off.
Barbastefano’s research leads her to believe that over half of Canadians are looking to travel to the United States within the next 12 months.
However, people in some countries – such as Japan –remain “very risk averse” and will likely be avoiding trips to the United States in the near future, she continued.