Travel May Never Recover Even With a Successful Vaccine
Travel industry professionals believe that travel demand will take years to rebound despite an effective COVID vaccine, according to CNBC.
Travel restrictions and protocols will be more informative and strict. “The news of a potential vaccine does hold promise for travel in 2021,” said Julie Hall, spokeswoman for AAA. “But … travelers need to be focused on knowing the risks of traveling and exposure in the here and now.”
“I’m just not bullish on travel for the first half of 2021 – even if a vaccine is mass produced in that timeframe,” said Brian O’Connell, analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com. “Caution is the watchword, as the vaccine will take months to be fully distributed in the U.S. and abroad.” Kayak.com CEO Steve Hafner believes “people are taking more a wait-and-see approach … until one of these vaccines gets out there.”
However, Hafner did disclose that Kayak, a popular travel agency website, saw a 27 percent uptick in travel searches the day after Pfizer announced its COVID vaccine had a 95 percent efficacy rate. “I’m very optimistic that once these vaccines get distributed, people’s perceptions around travel are going to change toward the positive,” he said. “I’m hopeful it comes by the second quarter [of 2021], knock on wood.” He continued, “if we’re really lucky, we’ll see it in the first quarter.”
Travel insurer Allianz ran a survey of 4,300 customers earlier this year inquiring about travel plans. The survey found that 49 percent of respondents would travel with an effective vaccine, while 42 percent said approval from public health officials would be sufficient.
″[The] promise of a highly effective vaccine is good news for the tremendous pent-up demand for travel, and should provide another reason for consumers to feel more confident booking trips for 2021,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz. Furthermore, he believes that luxury trips will be extremely popular next year as consumers look to make up for canceled trips.
“They’re ready to travel,” travel expert Stella Shon at consumer finance site ValuePenguin said of vacationers. “It’s interesting that over half of Americans have still stayed in a hotel or vacation rental despite what’s been going on — but obviously with increased safety measures in place.”