HOW AMERICANS WILL TRAVEL 2015
From Sun, Sand and Sea to Culture and Content –
How to Capture the Changing American Travel Market
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The US is the largest and most important travelmarket in the world. In terms of travel expenditure, Americans are top spenders, recording US$118 billion in 2008 on spending abroad, according to the UnitedNations World Tourism Organisation. The US market is the second largest market in terms of outbound travel. More than 40 million Americans travel abroad, accounting for 63.5 million trips.
A new report from Tourism Intelligence Internationalentitled “How Americans Will Travel 2015”, predicts that American outbound arrivalsto overseas destinations will rebound after the global economic recession. USarrivals to international long-haul destinations will reach 32.88 million bythe year 2015, up from 30.79 million in 2008. This represents an average growthrate of a mere 1% per annum or an absolute rate of 7.5% between 2008 and theyear 2015, according to TourismIntelligence International.
The region with the most promise in termsof growth of American outbound travel is Central America. This region grew by 145% between 1996and 2008 or an average annual growth rate of 7.8 percent.
“How Americans Will Travel 2015” from Tourism Intelligence International,points to a radical shift in the North American travel market and claims that destinationscannot continue to compete on natural attributes of sun, sand and seaalone. North American travellersincreasingly buy holidays with sense and sensibility and look for status andself-improvement on their holidays. Americans want value for money but they also need a sanctuary for theirsenses. Culture and Content willneed to be added to travel and tourism products in order to stay competitive. This has important implications fordestinations seeking to attract North American travellers, such as theCaribbean, where almost two-thirds (63.4%) of all arrivals are from the NorthAmerica, and Europe, which attracts 41% of American overseas travellers.
Dr. Auliana Poon, Managing Director ofTourism Intelligence International and author of “How Americans will Travel2015” argues that the “Creative Class” of American Travellers do not want tomerely take photos and sit on the sidelines. They want to experience the culture of a place they visit;they what to know about the content or “goodness” of a product before they buyit; they want to be active participants. Not surprising, over two-fifths of all Americans who travel abroad choseEurope.
For Americans, taking part in activitiesof a cultural nature while on holiday is growing in importance. More than half (51%) of the 40 millionAmericans travelling abroad visit historical places; almost one-third (32%)visit cultural heritage sites; and one-quarter (25%) visit an art gallery ormuseum, according to the Office of Traveland Tourism Industries. Americans’ interest in culture is definitely on the increase. And not just for the big-ticket megaevents. North Americans are, in fact, keenly interested in small local eventssuch as the Tomato Festival in Buñol, Spain, musicals and theatre in London,England, museums and monuments in Berlin, Germany, circus and wrestling inTurkey, bistros, sidewalk cafes, street fairs, etc. Definitely on the increase is demand for cultural events atlocal communities in which visitors participate and blend in with locals(rather than events put on just for the visitors and where they are in themajority and are onlookers rather than participants). Destinations will need to focus more on supporting andpromoting local, indigenous events at the community level to attract theCreative Class of American travellers.
“How Americans Will Travel 2015” pointsto the growth in participation of the ‘Creative Class’ also known as theBourgeoisie Bohemians (Bobos), for whom intrinsicvalues and content are important considerations in their traveldecisions. In terms of theirattitude to food, they are not simply interested in drinking orange juice. They want to know whether the juice isfreshly squeezed; is it genetically engineered; is it organically grown; whatis the carbon footprint associated with getting the orange juice to them; andare the farmers who produce them fairly paid? They are not just interested inthe product and where it comes from, but in its intrinsic values andcontent.
Similarly, with regard to holidays, thediverse and individualistic lifestyles of the Creative Class involve activeparticipation and experiential activities that are multidimensional. They enjoy ‘Street Level Culture’,considered as a fascinating blend of cafes, bars, rum shops, sidewalkmusicians, and small galleries and bistros, where it is hard to draw the linebetween participant and observer, or between creativity and its creators. Members of the Creative Class enjoyunique experiences and they would prefer to be a participant rather than aspectator. They want activitiesthat manage to appeal to their sense of status and self-improvement at the sametime.
At the same time, the US travel markethas been under tremendous pressure – from war, terrorism and recession; tofear, falling house prices, falling income levels, and rising unemployment. This has had a negative impact on USoutbound travel. Analystspredicted that Americans will spend as much as US$30 billion less on leisuretrips in spring and summer of 2009.
Dr. Auliana Poon asserts, however, thatAmericans are trading down but not out – they are travelling closer to home;staying away from home for shorter periods; using less expensive accommodation;but they are travelling. Inaddition, with the ‘Obama Effect’, Americans are more hopeful, less fearful andpent up desires will cause a major boom in travel with the emergingupswing. Indeed, many stressed out Americans, whopostponed or reduced travel because of the recession, would take advantage ofthe new growth in the economy to take a much-deserved vacation.
By the year 2015, the US would have beenout of recession. In fact, Tourism Intelligence Internationalpredicts that the recession will end by the close of 2010.
The region selected by most Americans travellingabroad is Europe (41% of total overseas travel). Tourism IntelligenceInternational predicts that US travel to Europe will increase by almost 9%in 2015 over 2008. By the year2015 the US economy would have been out of the recession and the dollar wouldhave caught up with the Euro, predicts TourismIntelligence International. This would certainly bode well for travel fromthe US to Europe.
The close proximity of Central America tothe US, the differences in culture and language and the growing concern for theenvironment augurs well for travel from the US to Central America. One of the most popular destinations inCentral America is Costa Rica, which is expected to receive many Americans inthe coming years because of the ecotourism attractions there. TourismIntelligence International predicts that there would be over 3 million USarrivals to Central America by the year 2015. This represents an average annual growth rate of 2.4% or anabsolute rate of 18% between 2008 and 2015.
The African region is also expected to dowell, particularly South Africa with the World Cup taking place there in2010. US arrivals to Africa isexpected to be volatile but could reach as high as 5% annual growth between2008 and 2015.
The Caribbean, one of thebright spots of tourism, is not expected to perform well in the future in termsof American arrivals. TheCaribbean experienced consistent declines between the mid 1990s and the earlypart of the 21st century. After the terror attacks of 9/11, US arrivals to the Caribbean soared,growing by 32% between 2002 and 2006 alone. Americans want to travel closer to home and to seeminglysafer destinations. Since 2006,however, tourism arrivals from the US to the Caribbean have been declining. TourismIntelligence International predicts that American arrivals to the Caribbeanwill continue to decline to the year 2015. The decline is expected to be in the vicinity of almost 8%between 2008 and 2015. Thisrepresents an average decline of 1.2 percent per annum.
To win in this changing American marketand gain market share, however, tourism destinations should look beyond thenumbers to the fundamental developmental and psychographic shifts taking placeamong North Americans, particularly the rise of the ‘Creative Class’. It is important for destinations to focuson the Culture and Content of their holiday offerings.
This volume will equip any travel andtourism provider with more than 30 key strategies to attract the differenttypes of American travellers, including the creative class and othergenerations of American travellers – the Echo Boomers and the Generation Xers.
How Americans will Travel 2015 –Everything you need to know about the American and Canadian travel Markets – isavailable only from Tourism Intelligence International. Find out how the Americans will travel in the next five years? What havebeen the effects of the Global Economic Recession? What are the key driversthat affect the market? What are the 30 strategies your company can adopt insuccessfully targeting the North American travel market?
Ifthere is one report that you should read this year to enable you to win in thismarket, it is “How the Americans Will Travel 2015”. This 350-page report – published by Tourism IntelligenceInternational, Trinidad – highlights the latest trends, data and essentialinformation to fully understand the American market over the next five years. The report, priced at €1,299 is presentedin a clear and concise format supported by over 200 tables and graphs. TheExecutive Brief is available at €499 and individual chapters are priced at €199each.
“How Americans Will Travel 2015” will bepresented at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) in Berlin, Germany onWednesday 10th March 2010 at 3:00 p.m.
For further information about TourismIntelligence International or any of our other reports, publications andinnovative approaches, please do not hesitate to visit our web site at: www.tourism-intelligence.com