Earlier this week, I wrote about why I don’t foresee the travel industry making a comeback any time soon. I looked at three critical factors that could point to a full recovery. Firstly, we’d see a public health recovery, followed by an economic recovery. Finally, we’d see the travel industry make a comeback as people start to spend more. However, recent data by industry organizations doesn’t point clearly in that direction, yet. Currently, we’re seeing a slight uptick as many people are heading out for summer trips. However, what’s the future for summer travel in 2020? Let’s have a look.
USA Today reports about a recent study by the American Automobile Association (AAA). The report makes projections for US summer travel this year. Here are some of the key highlights of the report:
- Summer trips will fall by 15% this year, as Americans take 150 million fewer summer trips in light of the Covid-19 outbreak
- AAA expects Americans to take a total of 707 million trips this year, out of which almost 97% will be by car
- Weekend getaways and extended vacations will drive a lion’s share of the trips taken this year
- Other modes of travel like cruise ships, rail and bus will continue suffer and could witness an 86% dip
- Low gasoline prices will be a key driver for the increase in road trips over the summer
Glimmer of Hope
The report points to one hopeful trend, the increase in road trips and extended vacations over the summer. While airline demand will continue to be low, the shining light could well be the increase in road trips. This trend is highlighted by the fact that AAA saw an increase in hotel and car rental bookings since April.
However, AAA forecasts people will hit the road this summer in numbers very close to recent years. AAA projects 683 million road trips from July to September. That’s only a 3% decline from last summer and a 0.4% decline from summer 2018.
The Pundit’s Mantra
I find one trend really promising. There seems to be enough pent up demand for travel, which is clearly driving consumers to switch to road trips instead of flights. This demonstrates that after the lockdowns, people are both willing and able to step out for trips, albeit using a different mode of transport.
However, on the flip side, a complete rebound won’t happen we don’t see signs of an economic recovery as well. When the economy is depressed, fewer people are likely to spend their disposable income on travel, dining or other related categories. The average person’s propensity to spend in not only dependent on his/her income but also on based on an estimate of long term economic outlook.
Where do you intend to travel this summer? Tell us in the comments section.
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