Memorial Day travel bounces back to pre-pandemic highs. Here’s what you need to know
According to a Morning Consult poll last week, American comfort with taking a vacation hit a pandemic high of 60%.
What’s causing the bounceback?
- The main reason people are choosing to travel again has to do with the number of COVID-19 cases being under control.
- On Friday, the start of Memorial Day weekend in the United States, there were fewer new recorded cases of COVID-19 in the country than there had been since June 2020.
- The reason travel has picked up is because of the mass vaccination rates, with more than 50% of Americans having received their first dose of the vaccine and over 40% of the population fully vaccinated.
- According to a Morning Consult poll last week, American comfort with taking a vacation hit a pandemic high of 60%.
- The poll also showed that while 75% of those who responded considered themselves “excited to vacation again,” the majority would prefer to travel by car rather than by plane.
How is the airline industry doing now?
- Airlines are certainly seeing a bounceback as well.
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) travel numbers from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, show the highest number of screenings since the start of the pandemic.
- Last year, the airline industry lost more than US$370 billion.
- Now, some small new airlines such as Breeze Airways, have opened in the country to cater for smaller airports.
- While bigger airlines are trying to recoup their losses from the pandemic, these new airlines are able to sell budget tickets that make air travel more accessible and less expensive than before.
- As for business travel, the rebound isn’t happening as much. The main theory seems to be that after 14 months of entirely online meetings through platforms like Zoom, trips for meetings simply aren’t as cost effective.
- Whether business travel resumes also depends on whether employees are required to return to work at the office and at what capacity.
- Brian Chesky, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Airbnb Inc., remains skeptical. “Business travel as we knew it isn’t coming back the way it was,” he said to CNN, “The bar is higher to get on a plane to do a meeting.”
What about international travel?
- The rules get a bit complicated here, because every country has their own regulations about which travelers can visit, and whether those travelers need to be quarantined on arrival or be fully vaccinated before traveling.
- But, some countries in the European Union, such as Italy and Greece, have waived their requirements for testing or quarantines before flights for fully vaccinated travelers.
- The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, has hinted at the possibility that the rest of the EU is close to making the same decision.
- Leaders in France and Germany have also said that they’re looking to allow travel in one form or another this summer.
- In Asia, the restrictions are still strict. Japan and India have closed their borders to US tourists, and to get into China, you need a valid residence permit and a visa.
- The only places in Asia that are allowing tourists to everyone are South Korea and Thailand, but they still require COVID-19 tests and quarantine on arrival.
- If you’re an American looking to travel from the US, the best travel information is the State Department website.
Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters at email@example.com