Survey shows an overwhelming eagerness to travel

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic virtually shut down leisure travel, many experts have asserted that, as was the case after the Great Recession, luxury travel will lead the industry's recovery. And some new surveys would seem to back that up.

A survey by luxury tour operator Overseas Leisure Group of 2,000 American travel enthusiasts shows that 72% are making plans for their next vacation, more than a third want to travel as early as summer and more than half hope to travel by fall.

The luxury survey shows slightly more optimism than the latest traveler sentiment poll by MMGY for U.S. Travel, which showed the hesitation to travel grew from March to April.

"After more than six weeks of confinement, dreams of resuming our adventures are increasingly front of mind," said Felix Brambilla, CEO of the Overseas Leisure Group.

Perhaps the most encouraging news in the Overseas survey, though, was the willingness of travelers to fly. A full 78.2% of respondents said they would get on a plane. Asked how far they would go, 26.6% said they would travel in the U.S., 13.4% said to a neighboring country and nearly a third, 31.7% said "farther away."

The survey also showed that 39.7% of respondents are looking at traveling with a budget of up to $500 per person, per day; 15.9% looking at budgets of up to $1,000 a day; and 11.4% with budgets of more than $1,000 per person.

Experts have said they expect luxury travel to help lead the recovery, both because higher-income individuals tend to be more experienced travelers and because they are least likely to have their travel budgets impacted by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 lockdowns that have put so many lower-income people out of work.

Other key findings from the poll: 82% of respondents consider the travel market to be on pause rather than permanently transformed, and 42% would be ready to make a reservation now if it was risk free, meaning no deposit or cancellation fee.

As for where travelers want to go the most, 26.1% said they would opt for a trendy beach resort as their next destination, followed by a road trip (21.3%) and a small island (17.8%).

A separate survey of travelers over age 30 conducted by Aggressor Adventures also found travelers want to get to the water, with 66% of the 333 respondents selecting beaches, lakes and rivers as the destinations they miss the most.

That survey also showed Americans are on high alert for travel, with 55% looking to plan a relaxing getaway the moment social distancing restrictions are lifted.

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