U.S. Travel Tracker: September 2021 Highlights

by Haixia Wang + Skift Team - Oct 2021

Skift Research Take

The Delta variant didn’t do too much damage to the U.S. travel industry. In September, 47% of Americans traveled, only 1.7 percentage points lower than the record-setting July. And luckily, the virus is in retreat and the upcoming winter holiday season looks very promising for travel companies.

Report Overview

July was a monumental month for the U.S. travel. But we were deeply worried that the surge of the Delta variant would bring another dark winter to the fragile industry when we were wrapping up our July Travel tracker report. Luckily, two months later, the Delta variant is in retreat, with average daily new cases in October dropping to 60% of the daily new cases in September.

Even amidst the Delta variant surge, 47% of Americans traveled in September, only 1.7 percentage points lower than July. Now that the case number continues to go down and vaccination rate continues to climb, thanks to mandate put into effect by more and more public and private institutions, we might’ve averted another big blow. More assuringly and importantly, the U.S. opening its borders to all vaccinated tourists in November could be the prelude to resumed cross-border travel globally.

However, there are signs that the U.S. economy might enter a recession and Americans are starting to feel anxious. Forty-seven percent of Americans now believe the U.S. economy will worsen in the next 12 months, the highest since August 2020. Confidence in personal financial situations also dropped sharply.

These uncertainties mean that the travel recovery will continue. But instead of a linear trajectory, the path will be bumpy with many setbacks.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Travel incidences, January 2020–September 2021
  • September travel highlights
  • COVID-19 impacted travel, October 2020–September 2021
  • Changing consumer sentiments on the economic outlook, February 2020–October 2021
  • Consumer intent for the remainder of 2021 travel
  • Remote work trend and its impact on travel and mobility
  • How COVID-19 vaccination might impact travel