CHARLOTTE, NC – The American Automobile Association reported that the travel season 2022 has gotten off to a much stronger start compared to a year ago when reservations increased.
The agency said a new quarterly survey showed travelers’ confidence is rising.
Sixty-three percent of Floridians reported feeling comfortable traveling now – a significant increase from 40% in early 2021, according to the agency.
Based on the responses, AAA cites that the boost in travel confidence is due to the COVID-19 vaccine, the belief that the risk of getting the virus is the same wherever they go, people are more knowledgeable and less afraid of the virus, the implementation of improved security measures and reports that COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining.
“While some of this is the excitement of getting back to travel, there are those who have more money to spend after traveling less in recent years. In addition, we are starting to see customers use travel vouchers that they may have received after postponing a previous trip due to the pandemic, “Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA, said in a press release.
Haas said she is experiencing renewed enthusiasm from people who want to travel to the Caribbean and Europe. She also noticed an increased interest in people taking on cruises.
“This will be the first full year of cruise since the pandemic began,” Haas continued. “Last year, cruising began to build back in the summer with most ships with reduced capacity.”
Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line announced that they were easing their mask mandates.
Throughout the pandemic, the cruise industry struggled to stay afloat.
Last December, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned people against taking on cruises, regardless of their vaccination status, due to outbreaks on board due to the omicron variant. The CDC said it had more than 90 cruise ships under investigation or observation as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks. The agency has not disclosed the number of infections.
AAA said, however, that there are still concerns about COVID-19. Forty-one percent of respondents said it is challenging to understand the COVID-related requirements for international travel. As a result, it affects their willingness or ability to plan a trip.
“There is that segment of people who really want to leave but are hesitant because they are unclear about the COVID requirements or stressed about encountering problems while traveling,” Haas continued.
The CDC recently outlined the new set of community-based measures where COVID-19 eases its grip, with less focus on positive test results and more on what happens in hospitals.
The new system greatly changes the appearance of the CDC’s risk map and places more than 70% of the US population in counties where coronavirus poses a low or medium threat to hospitals. These are the people who can stop wearing masks, the agency said.
The new recommendations do not change the requirement to wear masks in public transport and indoors at airports, train stations and bus stations. The CDC guidelines for other indoor spaces are not binding, which means that cities and institutions, even in low-risk areas, can set their own rules. And the agency says people with COVID-19 symptoms or who test positive should not stop wearing masks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.