By Jack Wert, Executive Director Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB
It is gratifying to see that our community is slowly getting back to business. Our restaurants are now able to operate at 50% capacity in seating and our hotels are able to welcome guests back again. We have a long way to get back to where we were, but our tourism partners have already come up with creative ways to adapt to the “new normal.”
Longwoods International Research released this week’s National Travel Sentiment Study with these findings:
- Americans are still very much divided about welcoming visitors back – 31% in favor and 45% against.
- Only about a third of Americans indicate they feel comfortable dining in restaurants, while almost half say they are not comfortable in doing so.
- More travelers are changing their plans from fly to drive vacations/getaways.
- The percentage of American travelers who say that coronavirus will greatly impact their travel decisions in the next six months ticked up slightly for the first time in six weeks to 60%, while concerns about the economy impacting their travel decisions declined a bit. This is reflecting the increasing debate and worry over re-opening too soon.
Some good news came out of the UK this week. A survey of 500 British travelers found that 80% are already making plans for their next holiday and 41% said they would consider a holiday as early as this summer, with most (91%) traveling by air.
This week we also learned that the European Union has proposed a gradual lifting of borders to allow tourism to resume. Austria and Germany have become the latest countries within the EU to agree to remove travel restrictions with free movement of people expected to return by mid-June.
The consensus is that it’s safe to focus on booking for end-of-year, 2021 and even bigger trips for 2022. And open space holidays will be increasingly important. During the lockdown, across the board, there has been an increase in on-line searches for sustainable travel holidays, locations with wide open spaces, and self-drive holidays. There has also been a rise in searches for longer 2-3 week, more extravagant holidays in 2022.
Stay positive this week and know that your CVB staff will support the recovery from this crisis in every way we can.