49% of travelers would prefer to visit a destination requiring COVID-19 vaccination
With three vaccines now available in the U.S. and assurances from the Biden administration that all adults in the country will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May, many people are finally optimistic that travel is about to make its comeback.
And travelers could be poised to make booking decisions based on vaccination requirements.
Of the Americans who are interested in traveling in 2021, the majority (76%) are as likely, if not more, to travel to a destination or with a travel provider that requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination, according to a new study by TPG. In fact, nearly half (49%) are more likely to travel to a destination or with a provider with this type of requirement — and 31% say they're much more likely to choose a destination or provider requiring travelers to get vaccinated.
TPG partnered with YouGov to survey more than 2,400 U.S. adults between March 1 and March 2, 2021, of whom 64% are eager to travel this year.
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Though fewer travelers (34%) would be less likely to select destinations or providers with COVID-19 vaccine requirements, their concerns underscore common anxieties.
Potential travelers who are deterred by vaccine passport requirements (including 42% of Americans who have a desire to travel but are unlikely to get the vaccine) were more likely to cite privacy issues (64%) than health concerns (46%) as reasons they might avoid destinations or travel providers requiring proof of vaccination.
Some people described vaccine requirements as "intrusive" and an "inconvenience." One person said, "The only one that should make decisions about my health is me — not a country, airline or any other business."
But as destinations and travel providers search for ways to welcome back travelers, proof of vaccination will be a widespread and meaningful tool.
Demand for digital health passports that will track vaccination records, COVID-19 test results and other crucial pieces of health data has already swept the globe.
Airlines, travel trade groups, health organizations, governments and others are all simultaneously devising ways to verify the authenticity of vaccination records and test results and streamline the travel experience.
For more on digital health passports:
- Your guide to digital health passports
- You finally got vaccinated: Here’s what you’ll need for a digital health passport
- 5 things to know about IATA’s Travel Pass app right now
Presenting proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccine could be a traveler's golden ticket for entrance into a country that will otherwise keep its doors shut, or it could become a requirement for those who want to skip a lengthy quarantine period or rigorous COVID-19 testing requirements.
COVID-19 vaccines are also continuing to play a crucial role in restoring travelers' confidence. For many Americans who want to travel this year, choosing a destination or provider with a vaccination requirement may be about more than access, or the convenience of avoiding quarantine and testing mandates. There's also the added peace of mind that a destination or provider is prioritizing health and safety.
Related: Will you need an immunity passport to fly? How the COVID-19 vaccine will restart travel
Approximately 74% of Americans who want to travel in 2021 are either likely to get the vaccine or have already been vaccinated. That's a 10% increase over the number of Americans who want or have received the vaccine but are not interested in traveling this year.
Even after receiving the vaccine though, travelers will likely continue to favor trips to wide-open spaces such as national parks, state parks and beaches.
Of those who want to travel in 2021 and plan on getting vaccinated (or have already received the vaccine), 70% said they'd be comfortable traveling to a state or national park by the end of the year. Nearly 60% said they'd be comfortable visiting a public beach.
Plan a national park vacation:
- Enjoy free national park visits — Here’s how to save
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- A beginner’s guide to visiting Yosemite National Park
About 32% of Americans who want to travel said they'd be comfortable traveling to a theme park if they received the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year, and 20% said they'd be comfortable cruising.
Related: Disneyland and other California theme parks can reopen April 1 — but it will be different than before
Only 8% of Americans who want to travel say that, even with the COVID-19 vaccine, they wouldn't be comfortable with any of the trips described in the survey.
And, for the first time in a long time, Americans can imagine booking trips with people outside their home. This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people who have been vaccinated can gather inside with others without a mask.
For many people, the desire to get back out there with friends and family is strong.
Among those who want to travel in 2021 and plan to get the vaccine or have already been vaccinated, 40% said they're eager to travel with a significant other or spouse, followed by immediate family members (30%) and friends (13%).
But for others, the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines may signal an opportunity to get away from home — and everyone in it. About 8% say their first trip after getting vaccinated will be — or was — a solo getaway.