Hot vax summer, take two
Analysts predict the 2022 travel season will be unlike any we’ve seen before.
With vaccinations and boosters in arms, and mask mandates rolling back, a lot of people are packing their bags and setting their sights on summer vacation 2022. A recent Destination Analysts report said 82% of those surveyed were excited to travel. To learn more about such topics as how the conflict in Ukraine is affecting travel plans and the future of vaccine passports, RED spoke with Christian Hardigree, dean of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s School of Hospitality.
What should we expect from the coming spring/summer travel season?
We’ll see more domestic travel, particularly within a 500-mile radius of people’s homes. The Ukraine-Russia conflict is impacting gas prices, and it’s more likely that families will absorb those expenses in vehicle travel rather than air travel, the cost of which has already jumped. Between March 9 and 10 alone, gas prices added almost $50 per passenger for a cross-country flight.
How does the upcoming “Hot Vax Summer” look different from the one in 2021?
In the past six months, only about one-third of states relaxed their mask and quarantine requirements. As more states remove these restrictions, the trend will continue to rise. This means people will have more places to explore that meet their individual risk tolerance for the possible resurgence of a new variant.
How can travelers reduce stress when they hit the road, airport, etc.?
Build in extra time when traveling, especially at the airport. The workforce challenges mean that lines will be longer, including TSA lines, and service may be slower. Don’t further hamper travel logistics by taking out frustrations on service personnel — they’re understaffed and doing the best they can under the circumstances. Make sure you know what you can take for carry-on items. Be prepared and flexible.
We previously talked about the possibility of a vaccine passport within the hospitality industry — where does such a system/protocol stand today?
As government jurisdictions step away from Covid-19 mandates, I suspect we’ll see the proof expectations fall off, particularly in smaller and local destinations that are highly reliant on the tourism revenue. Bear in mind that in the 10 years prior to Covid-19, only about 62% of Americans got the flu vaccine. There’s also a huge issue with vaccine fraud, as has been noted.
However, I believe verification will likely continue for the next year, especially for international travel. For example, Italy just extended its requirement for vaccine certifications for tourists and now requires a Super Green Pass for some activities. Anyone planning to travel internationally should visit the CDC website and check their destination for travel recommendations.