IT’S GOING TO take more than three major hurricanes and some rampant wildfires to stop U.S. travelers from hitting some of their favorite vacation spots in Florida and California this winter, according to a survey by independent marketing communications agency Eric Mower & Associates. And many of them are planning to pack some extra food and supplies to help recovery efforts to boot!
The survey of 754 travelers who routinely traveled to the affected areas found that 65 percent planned to follow through on vacation plans this winter in areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria as well as the wildfires in Sonoma Valley, California. Also, 40 percent said they would bring something extra for recovery efforts, 23 percent planned to donate money to the region and 21 percent planned to volunteer their labor during their trips.
Florida was the destination of choice for 35 percent, followed by California at 9 percent, the Caribbean at 7 percent and Texas at 6 percent. Most, 64 percent, believe the destinations would build back better than before or at least back to the same level. However, not all were so optimistic.
The survey found that 29 percent of respondents are unsure about returning to their favorite spots this year, and 5 percent plan to skip it this year and for a while in the future. The top reasons included concerns about infrastructure (30 percent), the current attractiveness of the destination (25 percent), and that their favorite restaurants, stores and amusements will not be open (20 percent). Of those more wary travelers, 32 percent plan to visit somewhere unaffected by Mother Nature’s wrath, or they have no plans at all.
The majority of respondents who plan to visit an impacted area, 35 percent, expect smaller crowds, and 20 percent expect to have limited access to some restaurants and shops. Also, 18 percent plan to purchase travel insurance.