Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

new survey from The Vacationer shows 132 Million American adults (51%) plan to travel for the Fourth of July this year. Of those traveling, 32% (83 million adults) will spend $500 or more on flights, hotels, tickets, gas, and other travel expenses.

The Vacationer polled 531 American adults over the age of 18 between June 1 and June 2, 2021. Results were analysed by The Vacationer's Eric Jones, who is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rowan College South Jersey.

With COVID-19 cases waning in the United States, more Americans feel comfortable traveling. In addition to the Fourth of July, participants were asked if they travelled on the following holidays.

Memorial Day 2021. — 27.17%

Easter 2021. — 15.09%

Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa 2020. — 23.40%

Thanksgiving 2020. — 22.26%

Fourth of July 2020. — 14.72%

The number of people that will travel for the Fourth of July this year (51%) is nearly double the amount that travelled for Memorial Day. More people will travel for the Fourth of July this year than Memorial Day and Easter combined. Additionally, the expected number of people traveling this year will be 3.5 times more than for the Fourth of July last year.

Of those who will travel on the Fourth of July, 11.26% will do it primarily by plane while 36.59% will do it primarily by car. The remaining 3.56% will do it by bus or train. Despite it only being 11.26%, nearly 29 million American adults will fly on a plane.

32.1% of American adults or nearly 83 million people will spend more than $500 for Fourth of July travel. Additionally, more than 17% of American adults or over 44 million people will spend more than $1,000. Almost 3 out of every 4 American adults or nearly 190 million people will attend a BBQ or cookout for the Fourth of July. 

Almost 2 out of every 3 American adults still rate COVID-19 as "Slightly a Concern" or "A Big Concern" when planning for the Fourth of July. Despite more than 50% of Americans having at least one vaccine shot, it's obvious many people are still very cautious about the ongoing pandemic.

Heads of government across the Eastern Caribbean have thrown their support behind calls made last week by U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Governor Albert Bryan Jr. to encourage the state of Florida to allow cruise lines to enable vaccination checks for Caribbean-bound passengers.

In a letter to the USVI leader, Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), expressed the sub-regional group’s deep appreciation to Governor Bryan for writing to Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis seeking special consideration in the Florida legislation to aid the revitalization of the cruise industry in the Caribbean. As increasing numbers of Americans receive COVID-19 vaccinations, Governor Bryan argued that ensuring the cruise industry reopens with vaccinated passengers is essential to the tourism economies of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean.

“We are deeply concerned - as you are - with the grave inherent difficulties for our effort to safeguard lives and to reignite livelihoods as we are among the most tourism dependent economies of the world. While the new law is not specific to the cruise business, it will potentially have a huge deleterious effect on it because almost all cruise ships (especially to the Caribbean) originate from ports within the state of Florida,” stated Prime Minister Skerrit, who observed the new Florida state law (which goes into effect on July 1) appears to conflict with Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health and safety guidelines, which include the vaccination of 95% of passengers and crew members.

“For us as small island developing states whose economies are largely fueled by tourism, the vaccination status of industry players (both visitors and industry workers - whether cruise or land-based) is essential to our strategy in the OECS to safeguard the lives of both our people and visitors and restore our economies,” Prime Minister Skerrit asserted.

He disclosed that the OECS leaders propose to advance arguments in further support of the advocacy undertaken by Governor Bryan, “and will urge partners in the cruise as well as the land-based tourism industry to add their voices in appeal to Governor DeSantis.”

Governor Bryan thanked the OECS leaders for their support: “As Caribbean people it is important that we stand united on these important issues. Cruise ships don’t just sail to one destination. We are one Caribbean and our health care infrastructure is too vulnerable to handle widespread outbreaks of illness.”

Governor Bryan commended the Florida governor for his commitment to health, civil liberties and economic revitalization, while underscoring that there are millions of people in the Caribbean who are counting on him to work with his lawmakers to ensure that travellers are healthy and vaccinated before sailing to Caribbean destinations.

“Smart public health safety guidelines can coexist with the restart of the Caribbean’s economic engine,” he reiterated.

Prime Minister Skerrit’s correspondence was copied to heads of government in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the head of the OECS Secretariat.

The Mexican resort of Cozumel welcomed the first arrival of a cruise ship carrying passengers since the coronavirus pandemic essentially collapsed the industry.

Officials in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo welcomed Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas as it arrived from Nassau in the Bahamas at the arrival at the world's busiest stopover for cruise ships.

The cruise line requires all passengers 16 and over to be fully vaccinated. Those who don't have to get Covid-19 tests.

Gov. Carlos Joaquin said about 5% of passengers aboard the ship -- about 150 youths or those with chronic health conditions -- haven't been vaccinated and would be subject to special rules. State and federal health officials were on hand to oversee the arrival.

Mexico has not instituted any testing requirement for incoming passengers, and anecdotal evidence suggests tourists are attracted to Mexico's Caribbean resorts in part because there has been no lockdown and health precautions are largely voluntary. Many visitors shed their masks when they reach their hotels or beach clubs.

The state has seen a recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases, in part linked to increased travel around Easter week, and partial reductions at businesses like hotels and restaurants have been implemented to stem the upsurge.

Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed its plans to return to guest operations from Port of Galveston on July 3 with Carnival Vista, followed by the return of operations on Carnival Breeze on July 15. 

These cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, in accordance with current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies; however, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us.  As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The other ship and port identified for a July restart is Carnival Horizon from PortMiami.  Carnival continues to work with both the State of Florida and the CDC for Carnival Horizon sailings and plans to provide an update by Friday concerning protocols specific to these sailings to all booked guests. 

Duffy also acknowledged the strong support of both Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as well as other state officials, in making vaccinations available to cruise line personnel, which has expedited the restart process. She also said the support of local officials, especially Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Galveston Mayor Craig Brown, and PortMiami and Port of Galveston leaders, has been instrumental in the restart efforts.

Carnival also said it will be advising guests and travel advisors about its plans for August sailings over the coming days.

The latest booking figures from leading independent travel agency, Travel Counsellors, indicate that Brits are looking well ahead when planning their next big holiday. 31% of all new holiday bookings made last week (w/c 7 June) were for winter 2021/22, and 23% were for summer 2022. The UK remains as this year’s most popular summer destination.

With the current uncertainty and changes to the destinations on the traffic light system, Britons are clearly postponing their big getaway. The USA, Maldives, UAE and Barbados are leading the bookings for winter 2021/22; while Greece, USA and Spain are most popular destinations for summer next year.

Last week, Travel Counsellors received over 500 customer enquiries for summer staycations, as the UK remains as the most popular destination for this summer (23% of new summer bookings made last week), followed by Greece (8%) and the US (8%).

Jim Eastwood, Global Sales Director at Travel Counsellors, says: “Because of the current travel insecurity and the government’s ambiguity on amber destinations, customers are planning well ahead and making bookings - or re-booking - for up to summer next year. By booking with one of our trusted travel advisors’ clients can receive the latest advice and know that there is someone on hand to amend arrangements should plans have to change, whilst being safe in the knowledge that their money is fully financial protected.

“Travel has of course become more complex than ever, with the traffic light system and latest FCDO advice to navigate. Placing travel plans in the hands of an experienced travel professional has never felt so important”, Jim concludes.

Travel Counsellors has almost 1,500 experts across the UK who offer support, local expertise and reassurance from ‘inspiration to destination’.

 

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is interested in collaborating with its Caribbean neighbours on tourism-enhancing initiatives as the region’s bread-and-butter sector rebounds from the adverse impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking in the wake of a recent visit to Jamaica to meet with public and private sector stakeholders, Joseph Boschulte, U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism, reported successful talks with Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett and other private sector officials about the potential for regional economic revitalization with the unleashing of pent-up tourism demand.

Part and parcel of the recovery Commissioner Boschulte affirmed will be embracing “coopetition”, a concept Minister Bartlett supports. “The Caribbean is the most desirable warm weather destination, and we know how to deliver world-class experiences for our discerning guests,” said the Commissioner, who believes it is important to connect the best brains across the region to advance Caribbean brand marketing in the global marketplace.

Commissioner Boschulte and Minister Bartlett agreed about the need to leverage the strengths of regional destinations to overcome any weaknesses, and both observed trends that had emerged over the past 15 months, such as the loyalty and resilience of urban African American professionals who have been key to the travel recovery in both destinations.

“Regional collaboration is important to our success and we must continue to share best practices, especially as they relate to public health safety protocols even as the traveling community becomes vaccinated,” Commissioner Boschulte said.

The Commissioner added that “while we have made great strides curbing the spread of COVID-19, variant strains remain a cause for concern, and we must be vigilant on all fronts to keep our communities and travellers safe."

Although summer bookings to the USVI are robust, the Department of Tourism continues to push forward on its marketing and promotional initiatives. “Even with this strong demand, we need to go to market and make the case that we can compete with the rest of the world any day, any week, any month of the year,” said the Commissioner.

The tourism chief reported that the USVI is stepping up its marketing efforts this summer to remain top-of-mind among travellers, many of whom are already planning their fall and winter leisure and business trips.