American Leisure Travellers Remain Resilient Despite Economic Crisis
Thursday, December 11, 2008: The recent deluge of bad economic news has not dampened the spirits of American travellers, who continue to remain surprisingly optimistic about their future leisure travel and spending.
According to the findings of a special edition of Destination Analysts´ The State of the American Traveller survey released Wednesday, the American public is still hesitant to travel and spend at levels seen just one year ago, however positive signs have begun to emerge.
In July of this year, traveller sentiment dramatically darkened, with 28.8 percent of American leisure travellers saying they were planning to travel less for leisure.
In this most recent survey of 800 American leisure travellers, however, this figure improved to 21.2 percent.
In addition, one-third of survey respondents identified leisure travel as a “high” or “very high” when asked about their spending priorities in the next six months.
Nevertheless, while this outcome is certainly encouraging, when considered in historical context, traveler expectations for the future are still extremely weak.
The nominal improvements in traveller sentiment in the summer survey may be related to the slashed retail gasoline prices and the sharp fall in airfares.
Americans are profoundly automobile-centric in how they travel for leisure and fluctuations in gasoline prices can affect their decisions when planning leisure trips.
Respondents were asked what factors may have led them to travel less than they would have otherwise preferred in the past 12 months, 68.5 percent of Americans now cited gasoline prices, up from 57.8 percent in July.
Personal financial reasons and high airfares have also become increasingly detrimental to leisure travel, both jumping sharply in the most recent survey.
In this climate of economic uncertainty, travellers are showing a marked interest in travel deals and offers, with 65.6 percent of respondents saying that they would be actively hunting down a bargain when planning their travel in the next 12 months, up from 53.3 percent in July.
Travellers also expressed an elevated level of interest in saving money on their travels, again highlighting the need for travel businesses and organizations to clearly show a value proposition to their customers.
Founded in 2003, Destination Analysts is a San Francisco based market research company specializing in the travel, tourism and lifestyle industries.
Destination Analysts typically conducts The State of the American Traveller survey every six months.
This special edition of the survey was conducted online from November 18-20 amongst a nationally representative sample of adult Americans.
Surveys were collected from a group of 800 leisure travellers who had travelled at least once in the past 12 months for purely leisure or personal reasons.