Over 2 million travelers passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints on June 12, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
It was the highest total number of passengers screened by the agency since the COVID-19 pandemic began and the first time 2 million or more passengers passed through TSA checkpoints since March 7, 2020.
While the figure pales in comparison to the same day of 2019, when 2.7 million passengers were screened, it is a significant improvement over the 519,304 passengers recorded in 2020.
The milestone is also a huge sign that Americans are ready to travel again.
“The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country’s resilience and the high level of confidence in Covid-19 countermeasures, to include ready access to vaccines,” said Darby LaJoye, the acting head of the TSA.
The U.S. vaccination program is one of several reasons more people are booking flights. Around 44% of Americans are now fully vaccinated, which is alleviating much of the fear that has been associated with traveling.
Federal and state officials are also boosting traveler confidence by easing mask mandates and travel restrictions.
Mike Gathright, a senior vice-resident at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, said that the company is “very optimistic” about the recovery of leisure travel this summer and beyond.
“The vaccine distribution, the relaxed travel restrictions, consumer confidence, all of that is driving occupancy and improvement in our business,” he said.
According to a new survey conducted by Hilton, 59% of Americans plan to resume traveling by visiting a bucket list of domestic and international destinations they wouldn’t have considered before the pandemic. The top attractions include the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, the Las Vegas Strip, Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum in Rome.
The survey also found that 64% of Americans are desperate for a vacation. However, 57% of respondents said they would prefer to travel within the U.S. for their first post-pandemic trip.
The top U.S. cities Americans want to visit include Honolulu, New York City and Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Rome, Paris and London are the top cities for those who plan to travel internationally.