Since 2007, the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative on the University of Florida has studied many disasters which have threatened the journey business, from hurricanes to the Zika virus. Beginning in January, prompted by the coronavirus-related risk in China, it started a periodic survey of Americans who journey on their perceptions of danger and nervousness associated to Covid-19, and the impression of these perceptions on future journey choices. In the most recent survey, taken by 517 respondents within the first week of April, about 74 % reported feeling anxious about journey throughout the United States, up practically 300 % because the survey venture started.
“We haven’t seen a global crisis that’s impacted every country globally and every facet of the tourism industry,” stated Lori Pennington-Gray, the director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative.
In an interview, Ms. Pennington-Gray shared the outcomes of her ongoing surveys. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for readability.
In a late January survey, 15 % of your respondents had been suspending journeys. But in February, solely 9 % had been. Why?
Even once we began to see circumstances within the United States in February, we began to see a dip in concern and nervousness. I feel some preliminary messaging — that it’s not such an enormous deal and that younger folks aren’t getting it — might have been linked to that. Over time, as there’s been elevated consideration to stay-at-home orders and never touring and defending your self and defending others, we’ve began to see a rise in ranges of journey nervousness and concern.
Are there demographic variations within the outcomes?
Some of it’s in line with what we’re seeing within the media, particularly concerning youthful folks perhaps not having the identical stage of journey nervousness. What we had been seeing with the scenes on seashores, that’s what was expressed within the information. Older populations, these which can be extra involved with the impression personally, are stating that they’ve increased ranges of journey nervousness. It’s in line with what the virus is doing and what persons are listening to. I feel that’s the essential half. The messaging is basically key to getting all people in numerous demographic populations to reply in the identical means in order that we will stage out the curve.
Respondents within the Northeast are essentially the most involved about journey now, which tracks with the outbreak. What else does regional information point out?
Regardless of no matter crises I’ve labored with, folks at all times ask the identical sort of query: When are you aware when the disaster is over? We’ll have some markers alongside the best way that begin to sign the disaster is over, but it surely’s actually essential that locations notice their explicit vacation spot could also be at a special stage of the disaster wave than different locations. So, it’s essential for them to observe at a worldwide stage in addition to at a extra micro stage. The information will assist them decide what they must be doing at what stage to have the ability to put together to convey folks again.
What are the implications for the journey business forward?
As far because the journey and tourism business, one of many issues that we’ve seen from crises generally is that the business may be very resilient, and that we rebound pretty rapidly. We are also seeing that there shall be some pent-up demand and that folks shall be able to journey. There’s some indication that journey shall be nearer to house initially and that folks will do extra driving tourism. But there’s going to be a section of the inhabitants that’s extra prepared to leap on a airplane and go abroad.
In a March survey, these making over $125,000 had been extra all for touring than these with decrease incomes. Did that shock you?
No. For essentially the most half, we all know that journey expertise is expounded to perceptions of danger, and that the extra folks journey, the extra they’re uncovered to completely different ranges of danger and that they really feel extra geared up to have the ability to take care of it. So, their self-efficacy goes up and due to this fact their notion of danger goes down and their willingness to journey goes up. Income is expounded to expertise, in order that they’re extra more likely to have traveled extra continuously and to a better number of locations, whether or not for work or leisure.
Those underneath 25 report much less nervousness than older folks. Why?
The youth market tends to be extra accepting of danger. They’re extra journey vacationers. They take part in riskier actions, not simply in journey however of their way of life generally. Overall, all people’s notion of danger is growing, however relative to different age teams, theirs is much less.
What’s been the response to your analysis?
We’ve had lots of engagement. People are typically all for journey. I feel staying at house in all probability piques folks’s curiosity in journey as nicely. Travel is part of our life and once we aren’t in a position to do it, we notice how a lot it performs a task in what we’re searching for in our plans and in our future free time. They’re trying to determine after they can get again to doing what they need to do, whether or not that’s seeing the world or going to see their households.