Context and Opportunity
The travel industry is a key component of the economy in the United States. In 2019, domestic and international travelers spent $1.1 trillion ($1,127 billion) in the U.S. This spending directly supported 9 million jobs and generated $277 billion in payroll income and $180 billion in tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments. Domestic travelers alone spent $972 billion (a 4.4% increase from 2018), and international travelers spent $155 billion in the U.S. Travel is the United States’ second-largest industry export (after transportation equipment) and accounts for 10% of all U.S. exports of goods and services.
However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had considerable effects on the travel industry and the U.S. economy on the whole. Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over $386 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy. The continual depressed level of travel spending has caused a loss of $49.6 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue since March 1, 2020. At the core of the pandemic loss are small businesses which make up 83% of the travel industry, and yet, 55% of small businesses are expecting either to never recover or to take longer than six months to recover.
As the U.S. and the world begin to reopen and recover from the COVID-19 loses, what still remains are the issues surrounding traveler confidence. The “revenge travel” wave is a term coined by the travel industry of adults dreaming or planning to travel as they never had before in light of being on lockdown or restricted due to COVID-19 rules and regulations. The revenge wave comes with particular conditions and insights:
  1. 1.
    53% of travelers said they want to see rates of COVID infections at their destination when booking.
  2. 2.
    70% of travelers of travelers will spend more time finding things to do.
  3. 3.
    73% of travelers will spend more time choosing a destination.
  4. 4.
    80% of respondents say that they value vacation now more than ever and plan to take an extra week of vacation this year.
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