Traveler optimism is at an unprecedented high, indicating a healthy rebound for the industry is underway, according MMGY Travel Intelligence.
The group this week said that the 2021 spring edition of its long-standing "Portrait of American Travelers" survey shows the report's Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI) rose to 119, up 22 points from last quarter and above its previous high of 117 in February of 2020, just before the pandemic.
MMGY Travel Intelligence executive vice president Chris Davidson, said the study shows that, after a devastating year, "we are already in the midst of an impressive rebound, and travel companies should leverage these insights and use them to guide their strategies in the months ahead."
The Traveler Sentiment Index, which the group has been measuring since 2007, is based on six variables from its survey results: interest in travel, time available for travel, personal finances available for travel, affordability of travel, quality of service and safety of travel.
• Related: Survey says vaccine will give travelers the confidence to travel again
While MMGY Travel Intelligence said the survey shows much optimism, concerns for safety continue to affect demand. But those concerns aren't slowing what it called "a considerable increase in travel intent."
Along with positive signs such as increased vaccinations and decreasing Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, safety remains below its pre-pandemic levels. At the time of the survey, it lingered 12 points lower on the TSI than it did in February 2020.
Road trips continue to be the most likely form of near-term vacation travel. Roughly three in five U.S. adults, or 62%, said they expect to take at least one leisure vacation during the next six months by car. Thirty-eight percent said they would take a domestic flight. Looking further out to the next 12 months, 81% of U.S. adults expect to take at least one trip.
Interest in international travel, however, remains relatively low, with only 19% of leisure travelers indicating they are likely to take an international trip in the next six months. That's down from 24% in January 2020.