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Gen X Could Lead the Way for Tourism

Kazuhiko Teramoto/Wikimedia Commons
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A new report by research firm Omnitrak finds Generation X travelers - which defines the group as those between the ages of 35 and 54 - will be the group most ready to travel within the next six months.

Chris Kam, president of Omnitrak, says, "Millenials, the younger generation, have been financially impacted more so than any other generations out there. Meanwhile, the Boomer travelers were not financially impacted as much as Millenials, but they have a significant concern over the safety of travel these days, so that's keeping them at home.

"The middle-aged traveler, the Generation X travelers, they have the same level of interest in travel as their younger counterparts, the Millenials, but they don't have the safety concerns that the Boomers have."

Interest in travel and bookings have picked up as more people are vaccinated across the country, and more are willing to get a vaccine, Kam says.

In December, only 40 percent of survey respondents said they would get a coronavirus vaccine. Omnitrak is polling survey respondents now, Kam says, and it has seen that number jump to 56 percent want to take a vaccine when it's available.

The report also found people willing to travel by car outnumbered those williing to travel by air, 8 to 1. For Hawaii, that means travelers may not be ready to fly here until the second half of 2021. However, Kam emphasized that work must be done now.

"As comfort levels increase, we will also see the increase in air travel demand," Kam says. "For Hawaii, it's not going to happen next month, it's going to be gradual. Probably the latter half of the year, but rather than just waiting and seeing what happens I think we have to get out there and market Hawaii and be in the forefront, keep ourselves top of mind first for traveling so that when they are ready to actually book that ticket, Hawaii becomes top of mind.

"People are at home, they're getting inspired to travel and are very open to that, but they're just not going to book it yet until later this year. But if you're not there inspiring them to travel now, you might get forgotten in the mix when they actually start booking."

Omnitrak works with other U.S. destinations and says Hawaii will have to compete with them for domestic leisure travelers.

Jason Ubay is the managing editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at jubay@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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