ForwardKeys: “Vaccination travel” spurs air traffic from LATAM to the U.S.

People are traveling to the United States to receive a vaccination against COVID-19, according to the latest research from ForwardKeys. 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% of 2019 levels to 67%, and bookings from all origin markets to Texas rose from 58% to 91% of 2019 levels.

Bookings from Latin America to Arizona soared from 126% of 2019 levels to over 220% and bookings to Texas from 180% to 330%.

The largest increases in flight bookings have been to Texas – from Peru, 684% ahead of 2019 levels, followed by Costa Rica, 338% ahead, and from Mexico, 317% ahead.

The leading “post-vaccination” Latin American origin markets for Florida are Peru, 161% ahead, and Colombia and Guatemala, both 88% ahead.

Arizona has seen flight bookings from Peru 166% ahead of 2019 levels, from Ecuador 135% ahead and from Mexico 129% ahead.

Analysis of “post-vaccination” travel shows an increase in both bookings for short stays (1-3 nights), particularly for Texas, and an even greater increase in long stays (≥22 nights) 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, VP 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.”