The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on nearly every industry, but none more than travel and tourism. Independent travel publisher Matador Network recently reached out to its global community of avid travelers and deployed an in-depth survey to understand how their thoughts and behaviors toward travel have shifted as a result of the crisis.
In the firm’s newly released COVID-19 Traveler Sentiment Insight Report, travelers from North America and other parts of the world described how they’ve been affected by the coronavirus pandemic thus far, when they expect travel to recommence, and what travel might look like when it does.
With a notably travel-centric audience (92 percent of respondents traveled domestically and 76 percent traveled internationally in 2019), the overarching sentiment was that “passion for travel remains strong, and in most cases, a sense of optimism is carrying travelers through the current stay-at-home and social-distancing directives.” Fewer than 3 percent of respondents have ruled out traveling in 2020, while 74 percent still view it as a likelihood.
Other key findings:
- 89 percent of respondents plan to travel within six months or less once it is deemed safe.
- 71 percent of all respondents imagine traveling just as much, or more, than they did pre-pandemic.
- Respondents who self-identified as having no elevated risk plan to travel at slightly higher rates.
- More than 73 percent will maintain or increase frequency.
Perhaps the most noteworthy finding was that “even a majority of travelers who consider themselves at elevated risk from COVID-19 infection expect to travel as much as they used to (54 percent) or more than they used to (13 percent).”
In addition to the appetite for future travel, the report drills into what specific elements of travel respondents are looking forward to and how they view travel differently in light of the pandemic. Overall, the survey points to a newfound appreciation and conscientiousness in travelers, and it concludes with a call for the “practice of patient optimism” as we wait for the world to reopen to explorers across the globe.
“The travel industry is resilient, and we’re stronger together,” said Ross Borden, Matador Network’s CEO, in a news release. “Our goal in creating and sharing this report is to leverage our unique access to passionate travelers in order to best position all of us for co-creating a new reality.”
Via the Matador Network newsletter and social media channels, Matador’s global audience of travelers were invited to participate in an online survey. Between April 9 and April 13, 2020, 2,179 individuals from North America and other parts of the world completed our multiple-choice questions and open-ended prompts.
Key characteristics of respondents:
- 1,316 respondents were from the United States.
- 92 percent traveled domestically and 76 percent traveled internationally in 2019.
- 96 percent traveled for leisure in 2019, while 55 percent traveled for work at least once in that year.
- 60 percent do not have children, 20% have children living with them, and 20 percent are “empty nesters.”
- 23 percent identify as belonging to a group at elevated risk from COVID-19 infection, 72 percent do not believe they belong to such a group, and 5% are unsure of their risk level.