Okay, so now let's talk about your spring and summer travel plans.
In January, when the whole coronavirus thing was just beginning to hit the news, I asked What keeps you from traveling? The overwhelming response then was "money," with 66 percent of respondents citing financial reasons for why they did not travel as much as they might want.
Only three percent of respondents cited health concerns. But now, with events and entire theme parks being shut down all over the world, are health concerns driving you to change your travel plans?
Tokyo Disney, Universal Studios Japan, and other theme parks in Japan remain closed through March 15. In China, Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland remain closed indefinitely. Cruise lines are canceling sailings, and passengers on at least two ships have faced quarantines. Airlines have announced that they will waive all change fees on tickets purchased this month, as they look to encourage passengers to keep booking flights.
Conventions are canceling, dropping occupancy rates at hotels. Speaking with people in the travel industry, I keep hearing the same story - advance bookings have all but stopped, as people wait to see what will happen next.
Theme parks and other travel destinations are stuck in the same planning purgatory, too. I've been waiting for word about nearly a dozen opening dates and press events that I had been expecting to have been announced by now. But parks don't want to commit to launching their new attractions if no one is going to want to - or even be able to - come experience them.
At this point, I haven't seen widespread discounting on airfare, cruises, or theme park tickets. Travel businesses seem to be, again, waiting for some direction. Will this crisis pass, and people resume booking? Or will this virus keep spreading, forcing businesses either to close for a while... or to discount in order to entice virus-fearing visitors to come?
There's a lot of fear out there right now. Some of that fear is of the virus, but there's also quite a bit of fear about its economic impact. Without widespread testing, we simply do not know the true extend of the Covid-19 crisis. It seems like everyone remains on the back foot, reacting to rumor and fear, rather than taking sound action based on real data... because that data, at this point, simply doesn't exist.
That's not an environment that encourages people to commit thousands of dollars toward travel plans. Or toward anything other than panic-buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer, it seems.
So, what are you thinking right now? Has the Covid-19 virus caused you to change your travel plans?
I'd love to hear your stories, in the comments.Tweet
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