COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the first time in months, half of all Americans say they feel safe traveling outside their communities, according to a new survey by travel research firm Longwoods International.
“There has been a shift in the American traveler’s mindset, from one of waiting out the pandemic to traveling within the confines of the pandemic,” said Amir Eylon, president and CEO of Longwoods. “Travelers are starting to decide for themselves what a comfortable risk for them is.”
He said the 50% threshold is significant – although it also means that 50% of Americans are not comfortable traveling.
The firm has been surveying Americans since early May about their attitudes toward travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
A snapshot of recent findings:
*”I feel safe traveling outside my community”: 50% yes, up from 40% on May 6 and 41% on July 1.
*”I support opening up my community to visitors”: 43% yes, up from 35% on May 6 and 34% on July 1.
*”I would feel safe dining in local restaurants and shopping in local stores”: 52% yes, up from 31% on May 13 and 40% on July 1.
Respondents also were asked what activities were atop their list for fall travel. The answers:
*Visit friends and family, 66%
*Take a road trip, 58%
*Visit a national, state park or monument, 33%
*View fall foliage, 30%
*Take a hike or bike ride, 28%
*Visit a farmers market, 27%
*Visit a museum or other cultural institution, 22%
Eylon, the former director of TourismOhio, said he expects rural, outdoor destinations to do well this fall, as they did during the summer travel season. Cities, he said, will have to get more creative, promoting urban parks, staycations and friends-and-family visits.
“I think you can expect to see a lot of Ohioans taking advantage of what’s in their back yard,” he said, adding, “We really are craving seeing our family and friends again.”
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