The latest research from ForwardKeys suggests that people are travelling to the USA to receive a vaccination against Covid-19.
The trend is most pronounced in travel from Peru, and other parts of Latin America, especially to Arizona, Florida and Texas.
ForwardKeys’ analysis of flight tickets issued up to May 18th reveals a substantial uplift in international bookings to Texas and Florida, during the fortnight after those destinations opened up vaccinations to all adults, including visitors.
Bookings from all origin markets to Florida rose from 44 per cent of 2019 levels to 67 per cent, and bookings from all origin markets to Texas rose from 58 per cent to 91 per cent of 2019 levels.
Bookings from Latin America to Arizona soared from 126 per cent of 2019 levels to over 220 per cent and bookings to Texas rocketed from 180 per cent to 330 per cent.
The most eye-opening increases in flight bookings have been to Texas – from Peru, 684 per cent ahead of 2019 levels, followed by Costa Rica, 338 per cent ahead, and from Mexico, 317 per cent ahead.
The leading “post-vaccination” Latin American origin markets for Florida are Peru, 161 per cent ahead, and Colombia and Guatemala, both 88 per cent ahead.
Arizona has also seen similar strong increases in flight bookings – from Peru 166 per cent ahead of 2019 levels, from Ecuador 135 per cent ahead and from Mexico 129 per cent ahead.
Analysis of “post-vaccination” travel reveals that there has been an increase in both bookings for short stays (one-three nights), particularly for Texas, and an even greater increase in long stays (over 22 nights), particularly for Florida and Arizona, where the proportion of visits exceeding three weeks has more than doubled.
This would be consistent with people flying in only to receive a jab and also combining a jab with an extended vacation.
Olivier Ponti, vice president, insights, ForwardKeys, commented: “As the pandemic progresses, we are seeing how closely linked vaccination is to tourism revival.
“Last month, we saw countries like Greece and Iceland, which declared themselves open to vaccinated visitors, gaining many more bookings than competitor destinations.
“This month, we are seeing the emergence of what could be called vaccine tourism, which is travel to a specific destination to receive a vaccination.”