Since 2007, the University of Florida’s Tourism Crisis Management Initiative has studied many disasters that threaten the travel industry, from hurricanes to the Zika virus. Starting in January, driven by a virus threat in China, he began a periodic survey of Americans who traveled to the perception of risks and anxiety associated with Covid-19, and the impact of this perception on future travel decisions. In the last survey, conducted by 517 respondents in the first week of April, about 74 percent said they were concerned about traveling in the United States, an increase of about 300 percent since the survey project began. “We have not seen a global crisis affecting every country globally and every aspect of the tourism industry,” said Laurie Pennington Gray, director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative. In an interview, Mrs. Pennington Gray shared the results of the ongoing survey. The following text was edited and summarized for clarity In the final survey conducted in January, 15 percent of respondents postponed the trip, but in February only 9 percent, why? Even when we started seeing cases in the United States in February, we started seeing a decrease in fears and anxieties. I think that some of the initial messages – which are not a big problem and that young people don’t understand – may be related to them over time, because there is a growing interest in staying at home, not traveling, protecting ourselves and others, we are starting to see increased levels of anxiety and travel anxiety Are there demographic differences In the results? Corresponds to what we see in the media, especially regarding young people who may not have the same level of travel anxiety. What we see with a view of the beach, is what is revealed in the data. The elderly, those who are more interested in influencing personally, state that they have a higher level of travel anxiety. This is consistent with what viruses do and what people hear. I think this is the important part. This messaging is really important to make everyone in different population groups respond in the same way so we can improve the curve. Northeast respondents are most interested in traveling now after the plague. What do regional data show? Regardless of the crisis you’ve dealt with, people always ask the same question: When do you know when the crisis will end? We will have a number of signs along the way that begin to signal the end of the crisis, but it is very important for destinations to realize that their specific destination may be at a different stage in the crisis wave from other destinations. So it is important for them to monitor on a global level as well as on a smaller level. The data will help them decide what they need to do at what stage they can prepare to return people. What are the implications for the travel industry going forward? As far as the travel and tourism industry is concerned, one of the things we’ve seen from the crisis in general is that the industry is very flexible, and we’re recovering somewhat quickly. We also see that there will be a number of hidden requests and that people will be ready to travel. There is some evidence that travel will be closer to home at first and that people will drive more tourist. But there will be more people ready to take a plane and travel abroad. In the March poll, those who made $ 125,000 were more interested in traveling than those with less income. Did that surprise you? Mostly, we know that the travel experience is related to perceiving risk, and the more people travel, the more they are exposed to different levels of risk and their willingness to deal with them. Therefore, their self-efficacy increases, so their perception of risk decreases and their willingness to travel increases. Income is related to experience, so they are likely to travel a lot to a wider range of places, whether for business or leisure. Less than 25 years of age reported less anxiety than parents. why? The youth market tends to be more risky. They are more adventurous travelers. They engage in risky activities, not only in travel but in their overall lifestyle. In general, everyone is more aware of the risks, but for other age groups, their risks are lower. What is the response to your search? We have participated a lot. People are generally interested in traveling. I think staying at home may also attract people to travel. Traveling is part of our life, and when we can’t do it, we realize how it plays a role in what we’re looking for in our plans and in our spare time in the future. They find out when they can go back to doing what they want to do, whether it’s to see the world or go see their families.
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