A groundbreaking “Back-to-Normal” survey comparing travel and leisure attitudes in September 2001 and July 2009 to today finds that a majority of Americans who took a cruise in the past year would go on a cruise right now in spite of widespread health concerns from COVID-19. And the percentage who would engage in other travel and leisure activities right now if they could do so is growing dramatically.

“Looking at our tracking data, we seem to be reaching an inflection point among leisure customers, sports fans and travelers,”

said Jon Last, President of Sports and Leisure Research Group, whose firm conducted the research along with Engagious and ROKK Solutions.

“There are just as many people concerned about the macro economic situation as there are those concerned about the public health crisis.”

Of those Americans who have participated in these activities within the past 12 months:

• 58% would take a cruise
• 48% would attend a live sporting event
• 47% would stay at a hotel
• 46% would visit a casino
• 43% would fly commercially
• 39% would see a movie in a theater

While those who would engage in an activity that they did in the past year continues to grow, there are still a large number of Americans overall that remain hesitant to travel long distances.
The latest poll also compared the public’s willingness to engage in various travel and leisure activities now vis-à-vis the weeks after the 9/11 attacks and during the Great Recession. While engagement lags those prior two crises, the latest results shows a consistency in consumer hesitancy compared to the previous polls.

“Our ability to compare today’s findings to the prior crises of 2001 and 2009 makes our 2020 research particularly compelling,” said Rich Thau, President and co-founder of Engagious.
Exactly half the country (50%) strongly agreed in late September 2001 that “Taking a vacation 500+ miles is a priority for me and my family in the next 12 months;” only 35% strongly agreed in our first poll held on April 1, 2020. While the number jumped five points to 40% who strongly agreed April 22, 2020, it has now dipped two points to 38% in our latest poll.
“Our research takes an unprecedented review of consumer attitudes of the past compared to today’s environment, so that a vast variety of industries can make strategic business decisions to navigate the difficult terrain ahead to get back to normal,” said Ron Bonjean, Partner at ROKK Solutions.

The margin of error on the May 6, 2020 online survey is +/- 4.1%. It was fielded May 5-6, 2020, and is comprised of a random sample of Americans who self-identify as participants in sports and leisure activities.

Sports and Leisure Research Group is a market research firm specializing in the sports, travel, and leisure sectors, based in White Plains, NY. Engagious is a bicoastal research firm specializing in corporate and public policy message testing and message refinement. ROKK Solutions is a Washington, DC-based bipartisan public affairs firm specializing in strategic communications, media engagement, digital and social strategy, message amplification and crisis management.