In our latest survey, American frequent travelers report significantly decreased willingness to travel domestically by air and lower willingness to get the COVID vaccine once FDA-approved.
Editor’s Note (10/21/2020): This article includes findings from ICF’s seventh wave of data collection that was fielded September 23 through October 4. The seventh wave collected 1,000 completes using a census-balanced, national non-probability sample. The new information, shared below, examines the impact of COVID-19 on the American public as well as their attitudes toward slowing the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about the ICF COVID-19 Monitor Survey of U.S. Adults.
Frequent travelers’ willingness to get an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine plummets as vaccine safety testing and efficacy continue in the public discourse.
In our May survey, 69% of respondents reported that they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to get the vaccine. Concerningly, this number is now down to 56%. In particular, this drop is a recent occurrence in our data and is being driven by a 13% decrease in those who say they are “very likely” to get the vaccine since August. While some of this group have certainly shifted their opinion to being “somewhat likely” to get the vaccine, that group has only increased 9% since August. Meanwhile, since August there has been a 5% increase in those who report that they are “not too likely” or “not at all likely” to get the vaccine. This is a concerning trend that we will continue to monitor.
Frequent traveler attitudes regarding the trajectory of the coronavirus crisis improve from July lows, but an increasing percentage of respondents believe the “coronavirus is not likely to be that major of a problem.”
Frequent travelers’ attitudes regarding the trajectory of the pandemic have returned to levels seen in the late spring and early summer, after taking a pessimistic turn in our July survey. As frequent travelers have perhaps settled into the “new normal” of the pandemic, the highest percentage yet report that they believe the “coronavirus is not likely to be that major of a problem.” From our August survey to this late September/early October survey, this group increased by 4%. As we enter the winter months, we are interested in monitoring these metrics, particularly if case counts surge as forecast and a vaccine or treatment options become widely available.
Good news—belief in the importance of masks (and other public health measures) hold steady all summer.
Despite the concerning changes in the data we reported above, it’s not all bad. Belief in the importance of masks in slowing the spread of COVID-19 held relatively steady all summer, with 86% reporting they believe it is “somewhat important” or “very important” to wear a face mask to “stop the spread of the coronavirus,” same as in June. Importantly, this pattern holds for other measures such as “staying three to six feet away from others” and “self-quarantining for 14 days if exposed to someone with COVID-19,” which stand at 90% and 96%, respectively, of respondents reporting that these measures are “somewhat important” or “very important.”
Desire to wait to resume cruise travel until Summer 2021 or later rises to highest level yet reported.
For the cruise lines, the news in this survey is all bad. While the percentage of respondents willing to engage in cruise travel by Summer 2021 or earlier held relatively steady through the summer months, in our most recent survey the number of frequent travelers reporting that they would not be willing to engage in cruise travel until later than Summer 2021 rose to 58% from 53% in the July and August surveys. This increase illustrates the challenging and unfortunate position the cruise industry finds itself in.
Watch this space.
How will American frequent travelers’ feelings and behaviors change as pandemic continues into the winter months? We will report key findings from our data collection efforts and will continue to share this information.