Travel Leaders Network, the largest network of travel agencies in North America with more than 55,000 travel advisors and 5,700 agency locations, conducted a research survey of past and current clients of U.S. Travel Leaders Network member agencies to understand readiness to travel.
The nationwide survey was conducted online from Feb. 26 to March 2, 2021, and 2,783 individuals successfully completed the survey, which found:
- 85 percent said they have already been vaccinated or planned to get vaccinated when eligible.
- One in three have already booked their next vacation.
- 62 percent are planning to take their next vacation in 2021.
- 44 percent said “exploring new places” is what they miss most about traveling.
- 62 percent said if a country required visitors to be vaccinated in order to enter, they would be more likely to visit.
When asked about plans to get vaccinated for COVID-19, a surprising 44 percent of travelers said they had already been vaccinated while 41 percent said they planned to get vaccinated when eligible. Only eight percent said they did not plan to get vaccinated while another eight percent said they haven’t decided yet.
“This data is interesting because it suggests travel is a big factor in motivating many people, particularly seniors, who are the most at risk of serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19, to get vaccinated,” said John Lovell, President of Travel Leaders Group. “Compare this traveler population, with a 44 percent already-vaccinated rate, to the general population, where only one in seven have already been vaccinated.”
According to The New York Times, on Feb. 26, 2021, 15.1 percent had received one shot of the vaccine while only 7.5 percent received both shots.
Regarding readiness to travel, the Travel Leaders Network survey revealed 32 percent of clients have already booked their next vacation and 24 percent are planning their next vacation. 41 percent are also dreaming of traveling again. Those who are already vaccinated are 20 percent more likely to already have their vacation booked, which indicates being vaccinated gives them the confidence to travel again and they are itching to do so soon.
In terms of timing, 34 percent are planning to take their vacation this spring and summer, an additional 23 percent are planning to travel this fall, and five percent are looking at year-end holidays for travel. In other words, three quarters will be traveling in 2021.
From a destination restrictions perspective, a majority (62 percent) of survey respondents said that if a country required visitors to be vaccinated in order to enter, they would be much more likely (36 percent) or somewhat more likely (26 percent) to visit. For those who have already been vaccinated, 66 percent would be much more likely (41 percent) or somewhat more likely (25 percent) to visit.
When it comes to what people miss about traveling, 44 percent said “exploring new places” and 25 percent said “getting away from it all.” Only about one in ten (12 percent) said they miss “returning to places I love.” Clearly, the vacations they have in mind are likely to be one-of-a-kind, bucket list type adventures.
“As the vaccine rollout continues, we are seeing more Americans planning and booking their vacations for this year,” said Roger E. Block, President of Travel Leaders Network. “Our travel advisors tell us that many of their clients are ready to travel, but they still have concerns about minimizing risks and following COVID-19 safety protocols. We believe our ‘Book with Confidence’ program is helping those advisors guide their clients in making comfortable choices about where, when and how to travel.”
Created by Travel Leaders Network exclusively for its members, Book with Confidence is a comprehensive program for travel advisors to keep them abreast of the latest, in-depth health and safety protocols and providing appropriate information to their clients. Travel advisors have access to dynamic library of resources to share with clients who may have concerns about certain aspects of travel today.
“At times like these, the value of booking with a travel advisor becomes increasingly apparent,” continued Block. “Booking with a travel advisor is the best possible strategy to navigate the new world of travel.”
Travel Leaders Network advisors do not make recommendations on whether it is safe to travel to a destination. Ultimately, it is the traveler who must make that decision, ideally doing so in an informed manner and considering his or her own individual risk tolerance.