U.S. Travel Industry Impact of Coronavirus is $106 Billion

Great Falls, VA, March 31, 2020 – Concerns about the Covid-19 virus pandemic has resulted in U.S. travelers canceling or postponing $106 billion in travel, according to a survey by Rockbridge Associates, Inc.  The impact includes $41 billion in air travel, $35 billion in paid accommodations, $7 billion in train and bus travel, and $4.4 billion in car rentals.

In an online survey of 1,216 U.S. adults conducted in late March, 43% reported they had cancelled or postponed planned travel that was out-of-town or involved paid overnight accommodations due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  The scope of the cancellations included the following:

  • 62% were cancelling or postponing one trip, 25% two trips and 13% three or more trips
  • The average trip length that was cancelled or postponed would have been 4.7 nights
  • 62% had planned to travel by air, 16% by train and 19% by bus
  • 77% had planned to use paid accommodations such as a hotel
  • 40% had planned to rent a car
  • 17% had planned a cruise vacation

Across the U.S. adult population, the pandemic has resulted in cancellation or postponement of 172 million trips, 279 million nights in paid accommodations, and 146 million rental car days.

According to Gina Woodall, President of Rockbridge, “The coronavirus has been detrimental to an important sector of the economy that employs millions of people.  Our numbers underestimate the full damage to the sector because they only pertain to travel that had been planned prior to the outbreak.  The full magnitude of impact, considering people deciding not to book new travel, is certainly much greater than $100 billion.”

About the study: Questions were included in the National Technology Readiness Survey which has tracked consumer trends since 1999.  The study is based on a sample of 1,216 adults aged 18 and older surveyed from an online panel from March 16 to 24.  The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.  Data are balanced to reflect the demographic characteristics based on the Census Bureau data.

About Rockbridge: Since 1992, Rockbridge has provided market research and consulting to the travel, financial services, technology and non-profit sectors.  www.rockresearch.com8


Charles Colby, Chief Methodologist
Rockbridge Associations, Inc.
10130 Suite G Colvin Run Road
Great Falls, VA  22066
703-757-5213, x112