The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for travel and tourism businesses. The leisure and hospitality and travel and transportation industries have consistently been reported among the sectors hardest hit by the effects of the coronavirus. Between shifting public health restrictions, travelers’ concerns about the spread of the virus, and ongoing challenges filling jobs, it has been difficult for businesses in these fields to return to full capacity and stay there.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, major metrics like travel spending and hotel bookings only approached pre-pandemic levels this past December—nearly two years after the pandemic first reached the U.S. two North Carolina cities have seen the largest growth in the number of road trips.
Despite this, some forms of travel have remained resilient and even grown in popularity as a result of COVID-19. Among these are road trips, defined here as trips between 100 and 500 miles made in a personal vehicle. During the pandemic, road trippers have found that they can still take vacations while avoiding other concerns like greater potential exposure to the virus or the high volume of flight cancellations due to the Omicron surge at the end of 2021.