Are Consumers Moving Away From 'Authentic Travel?'

by Richard D'Ambrosio
Are Consumers Moving Away From 'Authentic Travel?'

A local bazar in Budapest.


The travel industry for years has been promoting the concept that travelers want to immerse themselves in local cultures and festivals, family-owned small restaurants and other authentic experiences.  

But according to this year’s American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) “How America Travels” national survey, consumers may literally be looking to take a break. When asked to name the most important reason to travel for leisure, 64% of the survey’s 1,522 respondents said “relaxing,” followed by “quality time” with family (59%), seeing natural sights (38%), seeing historic sites (34%) and going to the beach (29%). Experiencing different foods was sixth (25%) and exploring other cultures was eighth (21%). 

“Consumers still want an authentic and local experience, but what shot to the top as the primary reason to travel is to relax, and find time with friends and family,” said ASTA president Zane Kerby. 

Still, Kerby said ASTA isn’t sure if this is “a huge shift or a blip.” 

While behaviors may be changing, ASTA members are still the best suited to advise travelers on immersive experiences. Kerby said the average ASTA travel agent has traveled to more than 73 countries and been in business more than 25 years. 

Other good news for travel agents is that 32% of Millennials have taken at least one cruise in the past five years, and 61% of them enjoyed it. According to ASTA’s survey, 20% of GenXers have taken a cruise in the past five years, while 18% of Baby Boomers have as well. ASTA’s survey showed that 45% of GenXers said they enjoyed their cruise experience, while 56% of Baby Boomers said the same. 

Of all who have taken a cruise, travelers find onboard food and beverage appealing (57%), followed by relaxing (54%), ports of call (43%), shows and entertainment and the convenience of seeing multiple ports of call (tied at 39%). Excursions came in at seventh, appealing to 37% of cruisers. 

ASTA did break out cruise appeal by age group, and found that 57% of Baby Boomers find an itinerary’s ports of call appealing, much higher than Gen Xers (40%) and Millennials (31%). Millennials felt onboard social activities were the most appealing, at 32%. 

One disturbing finding is that 27% of Americans did not take a vacation in 2016. The behavior appears to be based on income and price, as 41% of Americans earning less than $50,000 didn’t take a vacation, while 19% of Americans earning $50,000-99,000 didn’t, 13% of those earning $100,000-149,000 didn’t, and 8% of those earning more than $150,000 didn’t.

  0
  0
TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
California Independent Contractor Status Still In Jeopardy as State Senate Debates Bill

On Monday, legislators discussed a broad bill that could eliminate the ability for travel advisors to be engaged as ICs in California.

What Advisors Should Know About Succession Planning for a Small Business

 

The existence of an estate plan that provides for proper handling of the business in the event of the death of the owner is an essential legal document to put in place.

With Political Unrest Growing, What Protection Does Travel Insurance Offer?

Recent civil unrest in Puerto Rico and Hong Kong once again raised the issue about what insurance travelers should purchase for the best protection.

Travel Agent Popularity on the Rise Yet Again

MMGY study shows travel agent popularity is again on the rise as more consumers seek them out for their international expertise and knowledge of tours and lodging.

Look-a-Like Travel Booking Websites Could Cost Consumers

Legitimate looking websites appear to represent popular airlines and hotel chains, but they are costing travelers money and creating customer service nightmares.

Low Unemployment Impacts Travel Advisor Hiring

As Americans find jobs in other industries, it’s getting harder and harder to attract quality leisure travel agents and in states with high travel agent populations, unemployment hovered at all-time lows this summer.

News Briefs
Tip of the Day

As travel advisors, we have to be curious. Curiosity leads to impactful connections that pave our road to success. - Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing, Travel Planners International

Daily Top List

The Most Popular Attractions in Philadelphia

1. Reading Terminal Market

2. SugarHouse Casino

3. Independence Visitor Center

4. The Liberty Bell Center

5. Peddler’s Village

Source: VisitPhilly

TMR Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
AmaWaterways - Christmas Markets