Attraction Design Firm PGAV Destinations and research firm H2R Market Research Publish Insights on American Travel
U.S. attraction visitors are expected to begin venturing out as early as June after a year building pent-up demand. The results of PGAV’s sixth-annual Voice of the Visitor: Outlook on the Attractions Industry, which tracks Americans’ travel behavior and forecasts future plans, highlights it’s not if, but when recovery is going to happen.
During the 2020 COVID-19 travel bust, overall attraction attendance fell 55%. Voice of the Visitor reveals that as of December 2020, 66% of destination travelers intend to visit an attraction in 2021. Adam Sacks of Tourism Economics echoes this optimism and extends the prediction of leisure travel volume to 90% by the end of 2021 and 101% by 2022.
“If you are like us, you’ve been fantasizing about traveling to your favorite places for the past several months. As we have seen with past economic downturns such as the Great Recession, pent-up demand will fuel this recovery in a way that may surprise us,” says Mike Konzen, CEO, PGAV.
Voice of the Visitor shares five psychographic segments based on individual risk tolerance for visiting attractions. Safety ranked number one across the board with every segment, from the Early Birds, who continued to travel during 2020, to the Cautious Consumers, who are waiting to see the effects of a proven vaccine.
The attraction industry is no stranger to communicating and enforcing safety rules. Pandemic safety does add another layer to that experience but, after months of lock-down, guests are eager to adhere to a few safety regulations to have fun. For the first time, safety ranked as the number one key motivator for visiting. The measures visitors noted most include mask requirements, deep cleaning, capacity limits and available hand sanitizer.
Destination and attraction leaders will be attracting more regional and repeat guests who feel more comfortable taking fewer risks. The pandemic caused a shift toward visitation to outdoor attractions such as National/State Parks and Zoos. Also, local residents accounted for a larger portion of attractions last visited.
To discover which attractions guests will visit first in the new year, we asked 2020 travelers about their 2021 plans and found that attraction recovery will look different depending on attraction type. Families with young children will be eager for children’s museums by spring break, with theme parks and science centers following quickly. Live theater trails the list, with Broadway officially shut down until at least May 2021.
Top 10 Attraction Types Visited in 2020
- 25% National/State Parks
- 24% Historic Landmarks/Places
- 22% Zoos/Animal Attractions
- 16% Family Entertainment Centers
- 16% Theaters
- 16% Natural Wonders
- 15% Theme Parks/Amusement Parks
- 15% History Museums
- 14% Aquariums
- 14% Art Museums
Top Five Emotional Drivers for American Tourists in 2021
- Is a safe environment
- Is a place where we can have fun together
- Allows me to unplug and relax
- Is a great getaway for my spouse/significant other and I to enjoy
- Entertaining for both adults and children
A digital edition of Voice of the Visitor will be available soon at https://www.pgavdestinations.com and https://www.pgavdestinology.com/. For dozens of additional, free tourism studies by PGAV Destinations, visit https://www.pgavdestinations.com/Insights.
Conducted by H2R Market Research, Voice of the Visitor interviewed 1,500 American respondents who either visited an attraction in 2020 or plan to do so in 2021, providing a margin of error of +/-2.5% at a 95% confidence interval.
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