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Americans Feel More Confident About Travel

JANEEN CHRISTOFF | TravelPulse.Com

Troy Warren for Hometown Hall #travel-all

 

One year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Americans are only just beginning to put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror.

With the winter surge behind the country and vaccine availability becoming more widespread, travelers are beginning to feel more confident about getting out and about, according to new research from J.D. Power Passenger View, which surveyed 1,500 respondents traveling through major U.S. airports.

Its latest report found that Americans’ concern about contracting COVID is lessening among those who travel, there is fairly widespread support for vaccine passports and mask-wearing is seen as one of the most important safety measures.

Anxiety over traveling has calmed somewhat from the peak of the pandemic, J.D. Power’s research shows. While there’s still a fair amount of concern about being exposed, 58 percent of respondents expressed moderate-to-little concern.

Twenty-five percent of customers said that they were “unconcerned” about being exposed to COVID—the highest percentage since the summer of 2020. That was also lower than the number of customers that indicated they were “extremely concerned” about exposure, which was 15 percent.

The vaccine seems to have little impact on customers’ desires to travel. Four out of 10 respondents said that they will travel just as much as before the vaccine was developed. Thirty percent said that the vaccine means that they will travel more than they had previously planned and just 29 percent of respondents said that they plan to travel less.

Digital vaccine passports have a favorable opinion among travelers. Thirty-three percent said these passports were a good idea and should be required, and 32 percent indicated that they are a good idea, but should be optional.

Nineteen percent said that vaccine passports are a bad idea and should not be introduced with 16 percent saying that they are a bad idea and should be optional.

One of the lasting effects of the pandemic could be mask-wearing. The practice is, by far, the most important safety measure to travelers as are improved cleaning and hygiene practices and hospital-grade disinfection.

Mask-wearing blows all of the other new safety measures out of the water with 58 percent of respondents saying that it is the most important new measure. After masks, 16 percent of respondents said that improved cleaning at touchpoint was important followed by 6 percent of respondents who indicated hospital-grade disinfection, spread-out departure areas and queue managing and social distancing were important.

Just three percent of respondents said that contactless payment, temperature checks and contactless check-in/biometrics were important.

Passengers are also not likely to let these safety measures and protections go once the pandemic subsides. Forty-two percent said that they will likely continue to wear a mask and continue social distancing for all of 2021 or longer. Twenty-two percent said they would for several months and 15 percent said one month or two. Only 21 percent said that they would stop wearing masks and social distancing immediately.