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Some subjects generate a lot of mail here at TravelAge West, but one of the hottest topics in recent weeks was the question of whether travelers would take a cruise if they had to wear a mask.
“If someone wants to wear a mask, do it,” reads one typical letter. “But I do not see how you can enjoy a cruise, and why you would want to, if you had to worry every moment about the virus. I, personally, will not cruise if masks are mandated. That is not a vacation.”
To be fair, we received this letter in early June, and some people have been slower to come around to the importance of masks. I like to think this same travel advisor would be less adamant today. When you look at how major travel companies — including Disney and Marriott — have strengthened their policies, masks are going to be a part of vacations for the foreseeable future.
And, according to research, travelers are OK with that.
In a survey that came out today (part of our new Need to Know research series), 67% of advisors say their clients would be fine wearing a mask in public at a hotel or resort, and 57% say the same about cruise ships. This is in line with a recent Longwoods International study that found that 60% of travelers actually prefer destinations that require face masks in public, with one-third of those reporting they will only visit destinations with mandatory mask orders.
These results are good news for the travel industry. As you can read in this issue’s cover story, “5 Long-Term Cruise Changes,” what we experience when we travel — whether on land or at sea — is sure to be different in the future.
There could be a bright side to many of these changes, however. For example, how great would it be if some of these additional precautions not only protected passengers from the coronavirus, but also eliminated cases of norovirus? That would remove a major obstacle in selling cruises.
Ultimately, all any of us can do is accept and adapt to the changes that are coming. Anything else is a losing proposition.