wsls logo

AAA sees surge in regional travel as vaccination rollout continues

National Travel and Tourism Week May 2 to May 8

Be flexible, and keep in mind prices may go up
Be flexible, and keep in mind prices may go up

This year, the focus of National Travel and Tourism Week is the significant impact the industry has on economies in local communities.

In 2019, people visiting Virginia spent a total of $27 billion, supported 237,000 work opportunities and contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes. That’s according to Virginia is for Lovers. Then in 2020, when the pandemic hit across the country, spending by domestic and international travelers declined by 40%.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, there is now a surge in traveling as millions are vaccinated.

Martha Meade, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, told 10 News their travel advisors are getting more calls of interest and doing more bookings.

Destination Analyst has been doing weekly polls since the start of the pandemic. Meade said the polls show 80% of travelers say when they are fully vaccinated they are comfortable traveling, 88% of travelers have at least tentative plans to travel and 71% said they would take a trip in the next three months.

“We are seeing folks get vaccinated and we’re calling it vaccine and vacation day because folks will literally get vaccinated in the morning, they still have their band-aid on the arm, they grab lunch and then they come to us to book their vacation,” said Meade.

Meade also mentioned people are now booking four to six weeks out instead of the usual six to eight weeks.

Meade also highlights that travel doesn’t necessarily mean flying. Only 30% of those in the most recent Destination Analyst survey on April 30 said they were going to fly on their vacation in the next few months. Last year, road trips across state lines became extremely popular and AAA is not seeing that die down.

The pandemic is still going on so while travel is now an option, Meade said to expect the experience is a little different.

Here’s what AAA wants you to keep in mind when you plan your next trip:

  • Be flexible, the surge in bookings may mean you don’t get your first choice date or accommodations
  • Prices may go up due to supply and demand
  • If you decide to take a road trip, get your car checked out
  • Be aware of the COVID-19 restrictions where you want to go and check them before you go there in case they’ve changed

Meade also said travel advisors are seeing what they call, travel revenge. Travel revenge is when people plan for more extravagant trips; it could be more days, spending more money or with more people all because they missed a year of traveling.

“...Perhaps they had to cancel the vacation last year they may have saved those funds to apply to this year’s vacation and they’re really telling us that they’re seeing the value, like they never had before, in vacationing with and enjoying time with family and friends,” said Meade.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.