The TSA has reported that the number of travelers passing through their security screening checkpoints has fallen to its lowest figures since May, suggesting that fewer people are traveling in the wake of the Delta variant. It is the first significant reduction in traveler numbers following several months of the same figures rising in the US.
Whilst the Delta variant may be a significant factor in the reason why travel numbers are falling, there may be other factors at play, such as airlines struggling to provide adequate service in recent weeks or the prices of vacations rising to pre-pandemic levels once more. Here's a closer look at how much the TSA's travel figures have fallen by, and why this might be the case in the US.
Traveler Numbers Fall – Information For Travelers
Just two months ago, it looked like we would be in for a summer full of travel that resembled pre-pandemic levels. In June, the TSA recorded more than 2 million passengers, leading many people in the tourism industry to declare that confidence in tourism was finally back to normal. However, it seems as though the travel experts were premature in their predictions of a travel-packed summer, following an announcement by the TSA that the number of people traveling has fallen once more.
According to recent figures revealed by the TSA, just 1.4 million travelers went through their checkpoints on Tuesday 24th August, whilst only 1.5 million travelers were screened the following day on Wednesday 25th August. Whilst these figures are still much higher than some days at the peak of the pandemic, they represent a significant drop compared to numbers about 2.2 million at the start of the month, and represent the lowest number of daily travelers so far this summer.
One travel analyst felt that anxiety towards travel was one of the main factors in the recent downturn of travel numbers. Travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, said, “There's a lot more anxiety with airlines, with hotels, with cruise lines and all members of the travel industry right now compared to just a couple of months ago.” Harteveldt also added that business travel could also suffer. “We're going to see more and more of these meetings getting moved online as companies try to figure out how to keep their employees safe.”
The ongoing spread of the Delta variant could be one of the reasons behind this anxiety. The variant is responsible for a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in countries around the world, and has forced many popular travel destinations to rethink their approach to travel. Many destinations that are popular with American travelers have had their travel advisory warning level bumped up to the highest tier, Level 4, as a result of the increase in cases around the world – decisions that are bound to affect the confidence of American travelers.
Other factors could also be behind the drop in traveler numbers. The struggle of several airlines to cope with demand in the past few weeks may have convinced travelers to pursue alternative methods of transport, such as driving or train journeys.
Another explanation could be the rise in the price of travel at present. At some points in the pandemic, travel became much more affordable as airlines and hotels competed to get people traveling once more. However, once more borders opened up and travel became more accessible once more, prices rose once more – leaving passengers with expensive travel options whilst restrictions became stricter in many destinations.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.