Survey: No Slowing Down for Vacation Travel

NEW YORK—The results of a recent Travel Leaders Group consumer travel trends survey suggest 2019 is going to be another boon year for the travel industry. More than 3,500 consumers participated in the survey and 96% indicated they intend to travel for vacation in the coming year with nearly 90% stating they will take the same or more trips in 2019. The overwhelming majority (76%) are planning at least two or more leisure trips next year with 36% indicating their travels, at least in part, involve solo trips.

“The desire to travel among North Americans is stronger than ever with an increasing focus on authentic, memorable experiences,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. “Across our network of more than 52,000 travel advisors, we are seeing increasing interest in specialty travel such as culinary-focused, heritage journeys and bucket list destinations. Further, many people are not willing to forgo vacations because they have no one to travel with or, in many cases, simply prefer to travel on their own. We are seeing a rise in solo travel and our advisors and travel supplier partners are stepping up and catering to that demand with tailored trips for the solo traveler.”

Topping the list of U.S. destinations consumers are most interested in traveling to in 2019 is Hawaii, followed by Alaska and California. The full top 10 in order is:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Alaska
  3. California
  4. Florida
  5. Louisiana
  6. Colorado
  7. New York
  8. Arizona
  9. Montana
  10. Washington D.C.

“Several of the states in this year’s top 10 are best known for outdoor recreational activities, national parks and adventure travel, all of which are becoming increasingly popular as vacation tentpoles,” noted Chacko.

Among solo travelers, the top five U.S. destinations they are most interested in traveling to in 2019 are:

  1. Florida
  2. California
  3. Hawaii
  4. New York
  5. Alaska

The top international destinations by region consumers are most interested in traveling to in 2019 are:

  1. The Caribbean
  2. Western Europe
  3. Mexico
  4. Canada
  5. Eastern Europe

For solo travelers, the top international regions they are most interested in traveling to in 2019 are:

  1. Western Europe
  2. Caribbean
  3. U.K./Ireland
  4. Eastern Europe
  5. Australia

While 43% of survey respondents said they plan to spend more on vacation travel in 2019 versus the previous year, at the same time, money was the number one reason consumers indicated they don’t travel more. Work obligations and not enough time off were the second and third most common reasons people said they don’t travel more frequently.

Among solo travelers, the most popular method of traveling (cited by 40% of solo travelers) is to travel and explore independently, while 25% indicated they prefer to join an organized group journey when traveling solo. Thirty-five percent of solo travelers like to participate in one or more guided tour experiences while traveling.

“There are clearly varying preferences among solo travelers,” said John Lovell, CTC, president of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group. “There are those who are highly independent and strongly prefer to explore on their own with a less structured itinerary.”

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