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According to new industry research, fewer Americans will be traveling for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year due to concerns regarding the spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S. And of those who do decide to travel, they will largely be commuting by car.
An American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) study of 2,200 Americans shows that 72% of respondents are unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving, and 69% are unlikely to travel for Christmas.
Thanksgiving-specific economic forecasting by AAA, supported by research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider, predicts that there will be at least a “10% drop in travel — the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008 … but AAA expects the actual number of holiday travelers will be even lower.”
“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure.”
The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday.
AAA projects that Thanksgiving road trip travel — which will make up 95% of overall Thanksgiving travel — will fall by 4.3% compared to last year, for an estimated 47.8 million travelers.
And despite low holiday airfare, AAA “anticipates Thanksgiving air travel volume will be down by nearly half of prior years — to 2.4 million travelers … [which] would be the largest one-year decrease on record.”
Recent research by Allianz also predicted fewer Thanksgiving flyers this year, but said that those who do choose to fly domestic are favoring Seattle, while those who fly internationally will be heading in large part to Mexico.
A study of 1,073 travelers by MMGY Travel Intelligence found that 25% plan on traveling for Thanksgiving; 31% for the December holidays; and 15% for New Year’s.
This dip in holiday travel is having ripple effects throughout the travel industry, but particularly at hotels. According to AHLA, more than half of hotels report that they have less than half of their pre-crisis staff working — and most hotels (74%) predict further layoffs without new government assistance.
"This holiday season will be an especially difficult time for all Americans, and our industry is no exception” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “Fewer people will be traveling, and business travel remains nearly non-existent. That’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass a relief bill now. Millions of Americans are out of work, and thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. We cannot afford to wait until the next Congress is sworn in for relief. They need help now.”
The DetailsAAA Travelwww.travel.aaa.com
American Hotel & Lodging Associationwww.ahla.com
MMGY Travel Intelligencewww.mmgyintel.com