When our Virgin Voyages cruise was canceled (for the second time), Joe and I found ourselves this past summer with a week of vacation time but no plans. It was during a time when COVID cases were still going down and, frankly, we were getting a little tired of road trips. We knew that our trip to Japan in November would probably not happen (Note: it’s officially not happening now), so we decided to look at international locations.
We had some of our typical “vacation” goals – find a place that wasn’t too hot in July, that wouldn’t take too long to get to (the amount of time we could be away was limited and couldn’t be increased), and that we had an interest in visiting. But our primary goal was to find a place that was safe (read: high vaccination rate) and only took people who, like us, were fully vaccinated.
That’s how we wound up going to Iceland.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have a Facebook friend who is not vaccinated. She also had a week of vacation time this summer, and her goals for finding somewhere to go were completely different. She’s continually said she’s not “living in fear,” so she didn’t look at COVID cases or vaccine rates. Instead, she had to search for somewhere that didn’t force her to quarantine upon arrival and didn’t require her to show proof of vaccination to go inside restaurants, clubs, etc.
She wound up going to Cancun.
(She also caught COVID while there and although finally home, she’s still struggling with some long-term effects. But that’s another story).
It shows how those who are vaccinated against COVID and those who are not, are looking at different places to visit.
Islands in the Caribbean are a perfect example.
CNBC recently reported that Zeta Global, a marketing technology company, analyzed site traffic to the main tourism websites of several Caribbean islands after they announced vaccinated-only policies. After each country’s announcement, hits to their respective websites increased:
- Grenada — up 25%
- St. Kitts and Nevis — up 26%
- Cayman Islands — up 44%
- Anguilla — up 59%
Travel marketing company Adara also reported that searches and bookings for Trinidad and Tobago spiked when the country announced only immunized travelers would be allowed when it reopened. It then had another increase in travel interest when the policy was implemented.
On the other hand, the British Virgin Islands allow unvaccinated travelers to visit, but they are required to quarantine (the same goes for St. Lucia and Barbados). According to BVI’s Central Statistics Office, only 16% of their visitors in June 2021 were unvaccinated, and during the following months, only 10% were.
Because really, who wants to travel somewhere for vacation if they have to isolate for X amount of time when they get there?
So it makes sense that unvaccinated people are going to be more interested in places that require fewer restrictions for people like them. And, not surprisingly, many vaccinated people are looking more at places that require vaccines.
…islands with lenient protocols — i.e., those without quarantines or vaccine mandates — are likely attracting unvaccinated travelers while deterring vaccinated ones.
“Vaccinated people want to vacation in places that had stricter requirements, so they aren’t mixing with the unvaccinated,” said Adara’s chief marketing officer Carolyn Corda.
A study was done a couple of years ago about the differences in how and where liberals and conservatives vacation. It’s interesting that something similar to that is now happening based on one’s vaccine status.
As more places require vaccines (or quarantines for the unvaccinated) to visit, it will limit the locations those who haven’t gotten their shots can or are willing to go to. If nothing else, most domestic travel is still OK for the unvaccinated. At least for now, anyway.
Feature Photo: public domain
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary