Americans are ready to travel when their omicron fears disappear

Göreme, in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey.

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Americans’ enthusiasm for travel has returned to levels not seen since the widespread release of Covid-19 vaccines last year, as their wanderlust continues to be fueled by the variants of omicron and delta virus.

Nearly 82% of people are in the “ready to travel” mentality by 2022 – a 5 percentage point increase in the last two weeks, according to a survey of 1,200 U.S. travelers published Monday by Destination Analysts, a tourism market research firm .

The findings suggest that incoming travelers have largely shaken off the shock of the highly contagious omicron variant, which has pushed caseloads to record levels and lifted travel plans during the winter holiday season.

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“Travel sentiment recovered very quickly,” said Erin Francis-Cummings, president and CEO of Destination Analysts, which has been conducting bi-weekly polls of U.S. travelers since March 2020. “She added, and calls the metric a leading indicator of optimization.

More than 92% of will take at least one trip in the next 12 months; they expect to take 3.3 free time trips, on average, the highest share in 14 months, according to the survey, conducted Jan. 26-28. More than three-quarters have been dreaming about and planning trips just in the last week – a rate that has not been seen since last summer.

Travel enthusiasm had previously begun to gain steam around the middle of 2021, when a broad mass of Americans were eligible for a Covid vaccine. But the delta variant dampened that outlook, and again when omicron fears arose around Thanksgiving.

“Early summer 2021 was the previous peak,” Francis-Cummings said. “We’re starting to see that top again.”

“Omicron definitely had an impact: people canceled and postponed trips,” she added. “It did not have as deep or as long of an impact as delta did.”

Pandemic optimism

The North Cascades Mountains span the state of Washington and British Columbia, Canada.

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Respondents’ optimization over the course of the next month’s pandemic jumped 11 percentage points to about 42% in the last two weeks, and above the recovery of post-delta variance, Destination Analysts said.

About 81% of travelers surveyed by Destination Analysts are fully vaccinated – well above 68% of the total Americans aged 5 and older, the population currently eligible for a shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Travel site Hopper forecasts that domestic aircraft prices will jump 7%, on average, every month until June, “driven by recovery in demand for the omicron variant wave.”

Travel sentiment recovered very quickly.

Erin Francis-Cummings

President and CEO of Destination Analysts

That is well above the typical 2% monthly increase of pre-pandemic flights after the summer, according to the company’s Consumer Airfare Index published Jan. 19. Domestic prices will reach 2019 level by April 2022, it said.

Prices for international flights are at record lows for January, averaging $ 649 round-trip, but are expected to return by 5%, on average, a month to June, Hopper said. Rates began to fall in the last week of November, when the World Health Organization classified omicron as a variant of care.

International travel is likely to pose some additional obstacles for travelers, with many countries imposing tests and other entry requirements. (The US also requires a negative re-entry test.) Some countries have not yet reopened their borders to U.S. travelers.

Wherever the destination is, Americans traveling in 2022 plan to go big. The average traveler plans to spend more than $ 4,100 on vacation travel this year, more than $ 200 as of early January, according to Destination Analysts.

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