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Report: 59% of Tennesseans uncomfortable traveling during pandemic

A new AAA travel survey, conducted in January, reveals that 59 percent of Tennesseans are uncomfortable traveling during the Covid-19 pandemic. The main concerns are:

· Fears of getting sick (63%)
· The number of Covid-19 cases (60%)
· New strains of the virus (50%)

The travel industry has been hit hard by this pandemic. Nearly three-in-five Tennesseans (59%) canceled or rescheduled travel plans in 2020. Currently, over half (52%) of Tennesseans are comfortable staying in a hotel, while only 29 percent feel comfortable taking a commercial flight. The majority (88%) feel most comfortable traveling in their personal vehicle.

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Treatment and Knowledge Fuels Optimism

With more known about the virus and how it spreads, there appears to be growing confidence among some travelers. Nearly one-in-five (19%) of Tennesseans say they are more comfortable traveling now than when the pandemic began. Their growing confidence was attributed to:

· The implementation of mask use and cleaning policies (42%)
· More knowledge about how the virus spreads (37%)
· Quarantine fatigue/want to get out of the house (27%)
· More confidence in medical treatment and outcomes (25%)

This year, nearly half of Tennesseans (49%) plan to take at least one vacation of 3 days or more. One-third (33%) of respondents plan to take multiple trips. However, over one-in-three residents say they will feel more comfortable traveling after receiving both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine (35%) and when cases begin to decrease (38%).

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“The Covid-19 vaccine truly is the key to restoring Americans’ confidence in traveling again,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “With health experts predicting widespread vaccinations by the summer, AAA Travel Advisors are seeing growing interest in bookings for the second half of the year.”

Additional survey highlights:

· 80% will wear a mask in public while traveling
· 35% are more likely to visit a destination with a mask mandate
· 46% are driving less due to the pandemic (42% – no change in driving habits)
· 33% are more likely to purchase travel insurance than before the pandemic
· 74% will not travel in Q1 (46% cite the pandemic as a reason why)

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