Stats: Gen Xers to Lead Travel Industry Recovery in 2021

As the U.S. travel industry begins its long recovery from the pandemic-driven disruptions of 2020, Generation X (those aged 35 to 54) will lead the resurgence, according to Omnitrak’s TravelTrak America.

Among the key findings in Omnitrak Compass, a new report analyzing historic and current monthly travel survey data from TravelTrak America, pre-pandemic data for 2018-2019 shows “Active Gen X” travelers—typically in the workforce, engaged in family, community and social activities—tend to spend more per trip and travel in larger groups than Baby Boomers or Millennials (ages 18-34). To note: Active Gen X travelers spent an average of $914 per trip, versus $724 for Boomers and $836 for Millennials. And, while Baby Boomers (born 1946 to mid-1960s) report greater financial stability and remain interested in travel, they remain most concerned about travel safety.

As for method of travel, pre-pandemic, Americans of all age groups opted to drive rather than fly by a factor of five to one. TravelTrak America data shows this gap is expected to widen further in 2021 as drive travel demand recovers significantly faster than air travel demand.

With that said, COVID-19 vaccine availability remains key, with active travelers most likely to be among the “ASAP Vaccinators.” Among those who have traveled within the last year, more than four in 10 (43 percent) surveyed in January said they plan to get the vaccine as soon as it is readily available. Of these “ASAP Vaccinators,” nearly half (45 percent) plan to take a leisure trip by car in the coming year.

When it comes to financial situations, it’s not surprising that Millennials reported the greatest weakening of their financial conditions, with 45 percent saying they were less able to take a leisure trip vs. a year earlier. Comparatively, about 33 percent of Generation Xers and 30 percent of Baby Boomers said they were less able to travel.

While leisure travel is expected to return before business travel, according to the U.S. Travel Association, domestic leisure person trips nationwide are not forecasted to return to pre-COVID levels until 2022. Domestic business trips are not projected to approach such levels until 2024.

Omnitrak’s TraveltrakAmerica surveyed 9,500 U.S. households per month to gather data.

Source: Omnitrak Compass

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