The spring break season is traditionally the first major travel period of the year—but only about one in eight Americans plans a spring break trip this year, according to polling data by Destination Analysts.
And despite the nationwide progress on vaccines, spring break travel intentions actually appear to be dropping: the 12 percent who plan to travel for spring break is down from 16 percent the week prior—the first time that question was polled.
The data suggests that Americans remain wary about traveling amid the COVID pandemic—and that they may prefer to defer their travel plans until the process of vaccinating the populace is more complete.
It is the latest worrying sign for the hard-hit travel industry, which experienced a collapse in travel demand and steep setbacks in 2020 as the pandemic took hold. Of all jobs lost nationwide, 39 percent are in Leisure & Hospitality. Among those who do plan to travel for spring break this year, the reasons cited as most important were:
Relax and escape stress (73 percent)
Spending time with family (71 percent)
Escape boredom (71 percent)
Visit new places or destinations (68 percent)
Get away from daily life (67 percent)
Headed into the spring break travel season, the U.S. Travel Association recently released new updates to its “Travel in the New Normal” health and safety guidance, first released in May and last updated in November prior to the holiday travel surge.
The latest updates to the guidance mainly reflect the growing availability of COVID vaccines, and include strong encouragement from the travel industry for every American to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.
But the latest data underscores that it is far from clear when demand for travel will rebound on its own and travel jobs can begin to be restored. Travel leaders say aggressive policy action is still needed to help travel employers keep their doors open, or else many will be at risk of shuttering and their jobs will be lost permanently.
Continued relief to travel through the Paycheck Protection Program and tax incentives to help travel-dependent businesses and spur individual travel demand are among the provisions the industry is requesting from Congress. Click here for a full treatment of travel policy proposals.
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million jobs (pre-pandemic). U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org.
photo courtesy of U.S. Travel