As Walt Disney World continues to see record-low wait times, there may be more than just back-to-school patterns to blame. According to a report from NBC News, concerns over the Delta variant are stalling summer air travel following a strong surge in earlier summer months.
Lowered Spending on Air Travel
Spending on air travel has declined from $6 billion in June to $5.26 billion in July. In the first three months of August, only $2.9 billion was spent on air travel as experts point the finger at the Delta variant. “U.S. consumers are taking the Delta variant seriously and once again shifting their travel plans,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. “At the current rate, we expect spend in the month of August to be significantly under July.”
The raw numbers translate to a 16% dip in July when compared to 2019 levels, and that gap continued to grow in August to the tune of a 33% downturn when compared to 2019 levels.
According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of 1,000 American travelers, the rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is causing some travelers to put off upcoming trips. Nearly two thirds of travelers now say they are changing their trip plans because of coronavirus, up from 43% two months ago. One in five travelers have postponed trips until later this year, while one in six have postponed their travel until next year.
“The summer travel boom is at risk of stalling out as we move into fall,” said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International.
Travelers continue to rate input from federal agencies as the most important source when determining the relative safety of travel in the U.S.
CDC Recommends Unvaccinated Individuals Stay Home
With data supporting federal agency recommendations as the most important resource for travel, it’s important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that unvaccinated individuals stay home (via WFTS).
“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. Walensky said people who are fully vaccinated and wearing masks can travel, but “need to take these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling.”
TSA Screenings Down
Data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shows that checkpoint numbers are down to their lowest point since May 11, 2021. Just 1.3 million travelers were recorded on August 31st, a mark that is 33% lower than 2019 data from the same date.
Florida Cases Peaked
Data from the CDC (via the State of Florida) suggests that new COVID-19 cases have peaked in Florida.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news and photos from around the Disney Parks!