What is a vaxication, and can it help bail out the travel industry?

Outdoor lounge on the beach, facing the ocean - vaxications
Photo via m a n d o l i n/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Almost 18% of Americans have been fully immunized against COVID-19, and many want to celebrate by taking the trips they’ve been dreaming of through more than a year of pandemic life. These celebratory post-vaccine vacations have been coined as “vaxications,” and Bloomberg reports they have begun to rejuvenate the struggling travel industry. 

Travel marketing firm MMGY Global CEO Clayton Reid predicted last December that pent-up demand for travel, paired with a desire to celebrate vaccinations, would lead to a rise in vaxications in 2021. 

It turns out he may be right. 

Travelers and travel agents told Bloomberg that many Americans are resuming travel upon getting their vaccine. For example, Leah Smith, president of Denver-based Tafari Travel, told Bloomberg her company had seen an increase in travel inquiries. 

“We have seen a 25% increase in travel inquiries since the first round of vaccinations became available,” Smith said. “Pretty much weekly, I am getting emails from clients saying they just got their first vaccination and are ready to plan the next two years of travel.”

Though vaccinated Americans are traveling again, Bloomberg reports that they are still focusing primarily on outdoor destinations. The most popular spots include Antarctica, Egypt, and Rwanda. 

Luxury travel firm Indagare told Bloomberg it had a 100% increase in bookings week-over-week in February, seeing the highest volumes of bookings the company has had since lockdown began. While traveling after immunization may be good for business, it is not necessarily safe to do so yet. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend taking a vaxication. In its newly released guidelines for those who’ve been vaccinated, the CDC recommends delaying domestic and international travel.

The CDC’s recommendation came after health experts noted that they are still not sure if the vaccine protects people from unknowingly spreading the virus to others, even if they don’t display symptoms. 

“We’re still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease,” the CDC said. “Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.”

Health experts also don’t know how effective the vaccines are against the new variants. “Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others,” the CDC said.

If the rate of infections continues to decrease and Americans maintain a steady rate of vaccinations, Reid’s prediction that air travel will skyrocket in the second quarter of 2021 may come true. Until then, health experts recommend vaccinated Americans take it easy. 

Sources: NPR, Bloomberg, Travel Pulse, CDC 

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