With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, travel confidence is beginning to be restored among Coloradans, according to a survey released Thursday by AAA Colorado.
The survey found that 47% of Coloradans are comfortable taking a trip – up nearly 10% from January.
Officials attribute this jump in comfort to increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates and relaxing travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We knew from the beginning that the vaccine was the key to restoring travel confidence," said Skyler McKinley with AAA Colorado. "What we didn't know was just how quickly demand would return.”
McKinley said last month saw the largest month-over-month rise in travel inquiries in over a year.
Of Coloradans comfortable with traveling, 25% said they’re more comfortable because they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine and 31% said it’s because of the CDC’s new guidance.
Earlier this month, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the U.S. Unvaccinated people are still discouraged from travel and, if they do, are advised to self-quarantine and get tested after returning.
However, a whopping 42% said they’re more comfortable because they’re more confident in safety measures like mask-wearing and sanitation protocols.
Still, 44% of Coloradans said they will be more comfortable traveling once they’re fully vaccinated and 70% said they would be traveling more if it weren’t for the pandemic.
In Colorado, everyone over the age of 16 is currently eligible for the vaccine. Over 1.9 million Coloradans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday.
The survey also found that 60% of Coloradans plan to travel in 2021 and 46% plan to travel before July.
"The bottom line is that if you're thinking about travel, remember: so is everybody else,” McKinley said. “If you've got any inkling that you might want to travel in 2021 or even 2022, start planning now."
The most popular travel destinations for Coloradans are national and state parks (32%), beaches (23%) and major cities (23%).
Of Coloradans willing to travel, 56% are comfortable staying in hotels and 41% are comfortable taking a commercial flight – both nearly 10 point increases since January.
While 6% of Coloradans said they’re unwilling to wear a mask in public during travel, a much higher 48% said mask mandates make them more willing to visit a destination.