COLLEGE STATION – The COVID-19 pandemic has had major effects on travel. As the holidays approach, will Texans risk travel to enjoy some much-needed holiday cheer with family and friends?
So far in 2020, Thanksgiving has been the high point for travel volume in the state. However, this year’s travel is still far short of 2019’s. According to Transportation Security Administration checkpoint numbers, there were one million fewer travelers nationally the day after Thanksgiving this year compared with last year. Since the pandemic’s onset, the difference has been as high as over two million travelers in late spring and early May to around 1.5 million since September.
Overall travel figures look about the same. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that around half of Texas households who had once planned to take a trip more than 100 miles away ended up cancelling because of the pandemic. That rate was over 60 percent just before Thanksgiving, which may signal just how much some households were willing to risk traveling for the holiday.
Despite stronger travel numbers in November, December travel expectations are still modest at best. According to AAA Texas, the next two weeks are expected to have around 30 percent fewer travelers than the same time last year. Total Texas traveler volume is expected to be around 6.8 million with nearly all of them—97 percent—traveling by car.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has only worsened since November with infection rates continuing to climb. This has raised concerns of another COVID-19 wave and clouded the forecast for the next few months.
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Source: Real Estate Center