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Latest Travel Safety Barometer Reveals Americans' Overall Perception of Travel

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 7/20/2020 Janeen Christoff
Traveling at the airport during the COVID-19 pandemic. © Fly View Productions/Getty Images Traveling at the airport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MMGY Global has released the sixth wave of its ongoing Travel Safety Barometer survey.

The most recent research shows that Americans’ perception of travel is holding steady despite a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Out of a scale from 1-100, domestic travel scores a 46, up two points from 44 in the fifth wave of the survey.

International travel remains in the low 30s, dropping a point from the June survey to 31.

Also unaffected by the rise in illness is the number of Americans who plan on taking a leisure trip over the next six months. Forty percent still say they are going to take a vacation which is steady from June.

Consumers are also gaining confidence in certain areas of travel. Positive perceptions of hotel stays and flying are on the rise.


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In mid-April, domestic flights had a Travel Safety Barometer score of just 22 on a 100-point scale. That is now 39 in the July survey.

Still, Americans see traveling by car as the safest from of transportation with a score of 72 out of 100. Rail scores lower than air travel with a score of 35.

Hotels are now scoring the same as vacation rentals, up slightly to 46 percent.

“It’s encouraging to see the current headlines are not rattling American travelers, but we know these gains are fragile and could disappear if current COVID-19 hot spots can’t quickly flatten the curve or there are future outbreaks linked to leisure travel,” said Chris Davidson, executive vice president of insights and strategy at MMGY Global.

While hotels and flying are looking safer to the traveling public, certain activities are losing their luster. Images of crowded beaches, parks and restaurants have turned many off. Wave 6 respondents felt these activities were less safe than respondents found in Wave 5 conducted in early June.

Business travel is still suffering from poor safety perceptions. Business travel continues to score a 38 out of 100 on the safety barometer. Attending conferences or conventions in person also remains at about a 30 on the scale.

Cruise, which has been largely on hold since the coronavirus outbreak, has seen a two-point rise from 25 points to 27 points but since the beginning of the pandemic, the number who see cruising as safe once again has doubled from a low of 14.

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