Domestic Leisure Travel to Lead Tourism Industry’s COVID-19 Recovery

Published on : Saturday, May 23, 2020

According to tourism industry research, domestic leisure travelers will lead the industry’s recovery in 2020. Many American travelers’ renewed interest in taking trips close to home is welcome news for destinations like Greater Philadelphia, which is situated within a five-hour drive of a quarter of the U.S. population. Additional research commissioned at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, the Greater Philadelphia region’s tourism marketing organization, indicate that there are both opportunities and challenges for the destination as it plans for its recovery.

“Domestic leisure travel is expected to initiate the recovery,” says Erik Evjen, director of data analytics and insights, Tourism Economics. “Our analysis finds a substantial amount of pent-up travel demand, which will be primarily channeled to regional, drive-to destinations. In this sense, Philadelphia is well-positioned to capitalize when the first stage of recovery begins given its proximity to major traveler markets.”

“There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Greater Philadelphia’s recovery as a tourism destination,” said Jeff Guaracino, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “The region is very popular with leisure visitors. It’s an easy drive for much of the population, and it offers a good variety of things to do. Some hotels are even beginning to accept reservations for future stays. When our destination is ready to open, we’ll be ready to welcome locals and visitors to explore.”

He continued, “But we also know that there are challenges ahead: the unpredictability of this health crisis, the weakened economy and the temporary loss of some of our key nighttime offerings like concerts, shows and sporting events.”

Since mid-March, Russell Research has been gathering data that measures travel perception/intent and feelings about COVID-19 nationally and in three key Designated Market Areas (DMAs): New York City, Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Key findings from the latest round of research include:

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