The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) conducted a survey across 2,200 Americans in early November, and found that 72 per cent are unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving, and that 69 per cent are unlikely to travel for Christmas – highlighting a further blow for the travel trade industry this winter season.
Business travel is also suffering, with only eight per cent of those asked having taken an overnight business trip since March 2020. The AHLA survey also revealed that just 19 per cent of respondents that are currently employed (eight per cent of all those asked) are expecting to travel for business in the coming six months.
Leisure travel could take up to a year to rebound
In terms of the new year, AHLA’s survey uncovered that only a small amount (24 per cent) were likely to travel for the spring break period (early to mid-March 2021), and that it would be a year or more before Americans planned to travel for leisure – and even then, it was likely to be only 44 per cent of respondents travelling.
While this news comes as considerable blow to the hotel industry, the impact of Americans choosing not to travel will be felt worldwide. In 2019, there were 83.42 million outbound US travellers, 32.39 million of those travelled to Mexico and 13.25 million travelled to Canada (Statistica, 2020). And a 2020 report from the World Tourism Organization reveals that Americans were the second biggest tourism spenders in 2018 (succeeded by China) – spending US$144 billion on international tourism.
Still, there is still a big market gap when it comes to travel medical insurance penetration in the US. A 2019 report revealed that only three per cent of Americans were covered by a travel insurance policy, with millennials making up the majority of those figures. So perhaps, depending on who the travelling US demographic are this Winter and Spring, there is still an opportunity for travel insurance to fill in the cracks, and provide this small statistic with the cover that they need – and that they might be more responsive to now that the effects of Covid have been felt.