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Positive Outlooks for 2021 for Northwoods Tourism Industry

Children have fun and play in the water. happy boys splashing in the lake

It is no secret that 2020 was a deeply impactful year for the travel and tourism industry. But recent research undertaken by organizations such as Destination Analysts, Capital Vacations, VRBO, and VRM Intel reveals the cloud’s silver lining for rural travel destinations with abundant outdoor activities, like the Northwoods. Here are some key takeaways from these recent studies.

Findings from Destination Analysts

Locals More Supportive of Tourism in Their Own Towns

According to Destination Analysts, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the national economy has increased travelers’ perspective of their own towns’ tourism industries. Nearly half of American travelers report they would be happy to see ads promoting tourism in their town, and 64.8% of respondents report that they would like to help local businesses via the promotion of tourism.

Stimulus Checks Increase Spending on Leisure Travel

The stimulus checks that many Americans received are also benefitting the American leisure travel industry. Of those who have received or are expecting a stimulus check, a sizable percentage (38.3%) say they are likely to spend some of it on leisure travel. Among this population, the Millennial generation is twice as likely as the Baby Boomer generation to spend their stimulus money on travel this year.

Majority of Respondents “Highly Open” to Travel Planning

Nearly two-thirds of those polled are “highly open” to travel inspiration, and a whopping 73.8% (that’s a record high!) of respondents did some travel planning in the last week alone (as of March 22, 2021); 15.8% reported they booked a travel-related reservation in the past week.

More than 20% of respondents report that they have either tentative or firm travel plans in each of the months from May to October 2021.

Americans Begin to Reincorporate Air Travel

As Americans begin to feel safer, they are beginning to reincorporate air travel in their travel plans, with more than 45% of air travelers reporting that their next trip via commercial airline will take place by the end of summer 2021.

Beaches and Parks Among Most Popular Destinations

The Northwoods offers the types of getaways that many prospective travelers are seeking this year: 52.2% of American respondents to Destination Analysts’ study stated that they will be visiting beaches, national parks, and other outdoor destinations more often as a result of the pandemic (and urban, entertainment, and theme park–focused destinations less in the immediate future and recovery period).

Findings from Capital Vacations

Popularity of Lake and River Destinations Increase

Capital Vacations‘ research confirms this finding; this site reports that rural vacation destinations near lakes and rivers saw a popularity increase, especially in America’s Midwest, South, and eastern regions. Especially popular this year are family vacations featuring fishing, camping, and hiking activities.

Cabins and Chalets: Highly Sought-After Accommodations

In 2020, many families who traveled for leisure chose cabins and chalets tucked away in forests and near lakes and mountains. This trend is expected to continue in 2021. Vrbo reported that the demand for cabins increased almost 25% and chalet demand increased nearly 20% between 2019 and 2020. In general, accommodations that featured private kitchens in which travelers could cook their own meals during their stay were very popular last year, and the expectation as their popularity will continue in 2021.

Findings from VRBO and VRM Intel

Many Travelers Looking to Redo Last Year’s Canceled Plans

Even though many, many would-be travelers canceled their 2020 vacation plans, the good news is they aren’t planning on canceling them forever. In fact, 54% want to redo their canceled plans; according to VRBO and VRM Intel, 44% have rescheduled their canceled plans already or intend to soon.

Given that so many travelers are seeking destinations like the Northwoods, this is a wonderful marketing opportunity for Northwoods tourism attractions, resorts, lodges, chambers of commerce, and tourism councils with great effect. 5 Star Marketing & Distribution can help you get the word out that you are welcoming guests during the upcoming travel season. Call (715) 453-4511 today to get started.

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