Published on : Thursday, February 25, 2016
Regardless of safety concerns stemming from recent incidents in Europe, the Middle East and the United States, the travel intentions of U.S. adults remain strong, according to the latest travelhorizons™ survey of 2,300 active travelers conducted by marketing services firm MMGY Global.
Interest in Travel Up, Despite Media’s Impact on Traveler Sentiment
The overall Traveler Sentiment IndexTM (TSI), which measures U.S. adults’ interest in travel, time for travel, personal finances available for travel, affordability of travel, quality of service, and safety of travel, now stands at 120, the highest level recorded since its inception in 2007. One of the components, the perceived safety of travel (97), remains the lowest scoring, down two points form one year ago. The five other factors that determine the TSI increased between two and six points from one year ago.
This comes as no surprise given that four in ten active leisure travelers (42 percent) agree that what they see in the news affects their interest in traveling. Likewise, more than half (53 percent) state the news affects their interest in traveling to specific destinations.
Heightened Safety Concerns, U.S. & Internationally
Of note, half of those surveyed (52 percent) do not currently feel safe traveling to international destinations. One quarter (26 percent) have made a change to some aspect of their existing travel plans as a result of the recent terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East. Ten percent have switched their plans in order to go visit a destination they considered safer, while essentially the same percentage (nine percent) have postponed a planned trip, purchased travel insurance or canceled a trip entirely as a result of recent press reports.
Additionally, one quarter (23 percent) of active leisure travelers do not currently feel safe traveling domestically. The same percentage made some type of change to their existing travel plans as a result of the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino. One in ten (nine percent) postponed a trip, switched plans in order to visit a destination they considered safer or purchased travel insurance, yet fewer than one in ten (seven percent) cancelled a trip entirely because of what occurred in San Bernardino.
Leisure/Business Travelers Plan to Spend More
More than six in ten (63 percent) U.S. adults plan to take at least one overnight leisure trip during the next six months, down slightly from the 68 percent who stated this intention in October 2015. When asked if they plan to spend more, less, or about the same amount on leisure travel during the next six months compared to the same six months last year, however, 30 percent expect to spend more, while fourteen percent expect to spend less, revealing a significant positive difference in vacation spending intentions.