The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decrease in tourism to travel destinations across the United States. People are less likely to travel due to fear of contracting the virus. Traveling by plane is also off the table for many people and areas like Atlantic City rely on travelers by car and airplane to support its economy. Officials and operators in Atlantic City are wondering if tourism will increase this year. A recent study completed by Stockton University’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism sheds light on the subject, showing an indication that people are ready to travel again.
What Did the Study Reveal?
The survey was conducted with 806 people who visited the Do AC online website last month. Of those surveyed, a total of 42% had visited a casino since the shutdown. For the most part, those who were surveyed felt safe when visiting the casinos in Atlantic City. They did not feel at risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
Of those who visited, most everyone felt safe taking part in such activities as dining, shopping, and playing casino games. Atlantic City gaming venues have been operating at a lower capacity and mandating mask-wearing among employees and patrons. Social distancing is required along with regular cleaning and sanitizing of common areas and high touchpoints.
These efforts seem to have made an impression on those who have visited post-shutdown. A total of 70% of those surveyed have shown an interest in planning a visit this year. Of those who visited after the shutdown, more than 80% plan on traveling to the casinos again in 2021.
The casinos are ready to see a recovery from 2020 and the only way that can occur is if travelers start visiting again. It will take some time to begin to see the same level of business again at pre-pandemic levels.
Will Visitors Travel to Atlantic City?
There is no real way to know if visitors will travel to Atlantic City again in the near future. The US has reached the one-year mark since the outbreak began and while vaccinations are still taking place, there are still positives cases of the virus and people are passing away after testing positive.
It will all depend on the level of risk that people are comfortable with. As long as the casinos continue to offer a safe environment, players should be willing to travel. Many people are at a place where they are ready to travel and by summer, there should be far more people vaccinated, which could signal more travel to the usual tourist destinations like Atlantic City.
Spring Break leading into the summer months will be a good indicator of how comfortable people are with traveling. If the tourism numbers increase, it could be a strong signal that people are ready to be out and about again.
As long as the number of positive cases of the virus remains low, the casinos in Atlantic City will continue to offer services. As the number goes down, hopefully, restrictions will ease again and things will start to look more normal than they have in quite some time.