Coronavirus Impacts on Outdoor Travel

The impact of the spread of Coronavirus is a rapidly developing situation and the responses across the country are dramatic. In response, America Outdoors is taking several steps to support our members and the outdoor recreation industry. Through guidance documents, sharing of approaches, dissemination of best industry practices, and connections with experts, AO is getting information where it is needed.

Current Data (Updated March 18, 2020)

  • Cases have been reported in every continent except Antarctica

  • More than 200,000 cases have been reported

  • More than 82,000 cases have been recorded as “recovered”

  • More than 8,000 individuals have died as a result of the virus

  • There are more than 6,000 reported cases in the United States, and 114 deaths 

  • 157 countries have confirmed cases of the virus


What guidance does America Outdoors have for Outfitters?

In these uncertain times, America’s outdoor recreation providers can and should play an important role. We can acknowledge the reality of the Coronavirus outbreak and its impacts, and we can also be positive role models, maintaining our composure and level-headedness while demonstrating a responsible, pragmatic approach to the crisis. The vast majority of outfitters are sustaining their operations during this wave of disruption.

Some outfits are maintaining a landing page on their response to the coronavirus outbreak, including precautions for good hygiene on trips, and accurate and up-to-date information from officials, like the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization (see below for links).

According to a recent poll conducted by Skift, 81% of adult Americans have not cancelled travel plans, which is a good sign, but as schools and public events close, the number is likely to decrease. Outfitters have taken various approaches to the developments. Many are extending payment and cancellation deadlines, as well, to meet customers where their need is. Some outfitters are offering full “refunds” in the form of gift cards/ credits in order to retain the cash on hand. Others have not chosen to change their cancellation policy but are reminding guests about insurance policy options and still remind hopeful that the virus will be manageable by summer.

With the recent State Department travel advisory urging “U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19,” programs with a strong international component will likely be more stressed than those with predominantly domestic programming.

We have rounded up some of the most relevant articles for our industry, so that you may follow along with international and domestic impacts that we are already experiencing:


Relevant Articles

We have rounded up some of the most relevant articles for our industry, so that you may follow along with international and domestic impacts that we are already experiencing:


  • John Hopkins University is maintaining a live, online global tracking dashboard.  Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases

  • The CDC website for travel information. Read more

  • The CDC website for most recent press releases. Read more.

  • Health experts don't yet know if the virus will yield in the summer. Read more.

  • The U.S. Travel Association predicts a 6% decline for inbound travel to the United States in the next 3 months. Read more


Outfitter Responses


As we monitor the situation, we would like to encourage you to lean on one another for support. The outdoor industry is a strong and resilient community, and many are already providing great leadership in the face of this challenge. America Outdoors will continue to bring insight, strategies, and updates to you as the situation develops.


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