Is the Delta Variant Changing Travel Behaviors?
While travelers were increasingly making plans for future adventures several weeks ago, about a third of travelers have now postponed travel specifically because of the spreading Delta variant, according to the latest Longwoods International study.
The Delta variant of COVID-19—which the CDC says is nearly twice as contagious as previous variants—has undeniably impacted travelers' decisions to venture out in the next six months, with 34% of respondents saying COVID-19 will greatly impact their travel decisions. That's a significant jump from 21% only several weeks ago.
The survey also found, however, that only 12% of respondents say they're not choosing to travel at all in the next six months because of COVID-19, and only 9% say they're cancelling trips all together.
Vaccinations have also been top of mind as Delta surges, with Reuters recently reporting the Biden administration is developing a plan to require vaccinations as a requirement for entry into the U.S. for nearly all foreign visitors. The outlet also reported that currently, only foreign travelers who are essential workers (such as truck drivers or nurses) are permitted to cross by land into the U.S. from Mexico and Canada.
On August 9, even with the presence of the Delta variant, Canada moved to lift restrictions and allow fully vaccinated U.S. residents to cross at the Canadian land border. Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO, praised the move in a statement.
"This wise decision will spur the kind of economic recovery for our northern neighbor that's critically needed on this side of the border as well," Dow said. "Reopening the U.S. land border to fully vaccinated Canadians would mark a good starting point towards rebuilding our own travel economy, and the Biden administration should reciprocate this policy decision—given the high rate of vaccination across Canada—without further delay."
Dow goes on to explain that the best response from the White House would be to set rational policies regarding international travel to serve as a model for a world safely and responsibly reopening.
"Emergence from this pandemic will continue to be a complex and evolving process," he said.
Attractions like Disney Parks and destinations like Las Vegas are among those bringing back mask requirements in some capacity as a response to the Delta variant, which may cause some travelers who are unwilling to mask up again to change their plans or put off traveling all together.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.