A “back-to-normal” survey conducted by Sports and Leisure Research Group compared travel and leisure attitudes in September 2001 and July 2009 to today—and it found that a majority of Americans who took a cruise in the past year would go on a cruise right now in spite of widespread health concerns from COVID-19 (coronavirus). The research group adds that the percentage who would engage in other travel and leisure activities right now if they could do so is growing dramatically.
“Looking at our tracking data, we seem to be reaching an inflection point among leisure customers, sports fans and travelers,” said Jon Last, president of Sports and Leisure Research Group, whose firm conducted the research along with Engagious and ROKK Solutions.
Of those Americans who have participated in these activities within the past 12 months:
- 58 percent would take a cruise
- 48 percent would attend a live sporting event
- 47 percent would stay at a hotel
- 46 percent would visit a casino
- 43 percent would fly commercially
- 39 percent would see a movie in a theater
While those who would engage in an activity that they did in the past year continues to grow, there are still a large number of Americans overall that remain hesitant to travel long distances. The latest poll also compared the public’s willingness to engage in various travel and leisure activities now with the weeks after the 9/11 attacks and during the Great Recession. While engagement lags those prior two crises, Sports and Leisure Research Group says the latest results shows a consistency in consumer hesitancy compared to the previous polls.
“Our ability to compare today’s findings to the prior crises of 2001 and 2009 makes our 2020 research particularly compelling,” said Rich Thau, president and co-founder of Engagious.
Exactly half the country (50 percent) strongly agreed in late September 2001 that “Taking a vacation 500-plus miles is a priority for me and my family in the next 12 months;” only 35 percent strongly agreed in the research group's first poll held on April 1, 2020. While the number jumped five points to 40 percent who strongly agreed April 22, 2020, it has now dipped two points to 38 percent in the latest poll.
The online survey fielded May 5-6, 2020 and comprises a random sample of Americans who self-identify as participants in sports and leisure activities.