From May 14-18, 2020, Casa Cupula, a luxury LGBT boutique hotel in Puerto Vallarta reached out to their guests, and to people in the LGBT community in general who visit Puerto Vallarta to find out the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on their travel plans. (The audience was self-selected, 27% were Casa Cupula guests, so it is likely there is a heavier emphasis on luxury travelers in this group)
Of the 336 people who responded, the majority (81%) had planned to visit Puerto Vallarta before the end of 2020. Post pandemic, 41% of those surveyed plan to return later this year. Almost all the rest (36%) expect to return in 2021. The average duration of a delay was about 8 months from when originally planned.
What is keeping LGBT visitors from returning? Concern about the safety of air travel in general, with 65% saying they were greatly or somewhat concerned about this. Comparatively 51% were specifically concerned about traveling to Puerto Vallarta.
General anxiety about COVID is affecting LGBT travelers with 62% cited “general uncertainty” as their greatest reason to delay their next trip to PV, with 56% also concerned about air travel. Only 20% of this sample of mostly luxury travelers cited economic hardship, and 17% workplace travel restrictions, while 38% cited limited airline options (respondents could choose more than one reason).
“We’re not surprised by the number of guests who are postponing, but we are glad that almost all plan to return next year,” said Don Pickens of Casa Cupula. “Unfortunately for the Puerto Vallarta LGBT community dependent on tourism, it would seem there isn’t much we can do to affect this. It’s up to airlines to show they can provide safe travel, and up to the leadership of our nations to stop politicizing and start leading to help address the uncertainty we are all feeling.”
COVID has hit the respondents hard. Fully 66% were personally affected by COVID. While only 5% reported contracting COVID themselves, 30% have friends or family who have had it. Sadly, 3% reported someone close to them passing away, and 29% know of someone in their friendship circle. This matches the number of people who said COVID had strongly or somewhat affected the area they lived in (58%) with only 4% saying it had not affected their city at all.
Fully 62% of the sample group said their travel budget was not affected or minimally affected, which bodes well for a long-term revival of travel. Age did not matter either, as the average age of those planning to return this year was 49, only slightly younger than the folks delaying til at least 2021, at 51. Margin of error is 6% for this sample size. Survey respondents were mostly from the US (84%) with 10% from Canada.