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The University of Georgia Arch on North Campus. (Photo/File)

A team of researchers at the University of Georgia is working with the Georgia Department of Economic Development to develop a national survey that will gather data on travel behavior and motivations during COVID-19.

The survey will be released in three waves based on the different groups of data the researchers hope to obtain.

The first wave will gauge the economic loss in the travel industry due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by comparing last year’s travel patterns to this year’s travel patterns. This includes any respondent’s trips that have already been canceled and trips that will be canceled in the future due to COVID-19.

The second wave will gauge the impact on perceived risk and probability of contracting COVID-19, a factor that has deterred many people from traveling. People have been cautious of airplanes, hotels, taxis and other aspects of travel because of the chance of catching the virus. Prospective traveler’s plans to travel within the next 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and year is an important variable, according to John Salazar, one of the researchers involved in the survey.

“That’s really important because, I think, it’s starting to be revealed that, from an economic perspective, consumer confidence is really what is going to be an indicator of this economy turning around,” Salazar said.

The third wave will research the public’s specific travel interests in Georgia and whether or not they’re willing to travel in the midst of the pandemic.

“We’re running it [the survey] in three waves because consumer confidence is very fluid,” Salazar said.

Specific dates for the three-layered national survey to be released have yet to be determined, though Salazar expects the first wave of the survey to be finalized and released sometime in the next two weeks.

The team of researchers is working with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the team is obtaining a representative sample from Qualtrics, an online platform that UGA contracts with. Salazar expects a total of 3,000 to 5,000 responses of respondents in Georgia and throughout the U.S.

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