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Travel and Tourism Statistics: The Ultimate Collection

By Andrew Graft | Updated on May 24, 2018 10:17:10 AM

Ray Bradbury – author of the space travel and colonization classic The Martian Chronicles – once wrote, “Half of the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness.”

What did Mr. Bradbury mean when he penned this now famous quote? We may never know.

Don’t get the wrong idea, of course. We totally get the part about travel being extra rewarding when people get far off the beaten path into new places they didn't even know existed. (Duh.)

What civilization will always wonder is this. Did he mean “half” in the general sense, as in give or take a third? Or “half” in the 50% sense, where if he’d meant 51 percent, he’d have said 51 percent?

Whatever the math behind Ray’s statistical calculations, one thing we know for sure…

People looooooove to travel.

Families and individuals of all ages, sizes and incomes. To faraway lands. For weekend getaways. To pursue new business deals. With kids. Without kids. On planes, trains, automobiles, boats and buses.

Travel-and-Tourism-imagesAnd when it comes to customer loyalty programs and member engagement, travel benefits are often among the most hotly pursued. Why? Because lots of money AND emotional expectation are wrapped up in most of our travel purchase decisions.

So to better understand today’s traveler, we at Access have compiled what we believe is a comprehensive “ultimate collection” of statistics having to do with the travel and tourism industry. We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research from travel and tourism related sources.

Most of these stats are focused on Americans who travel – though other nationalities may creep into the mix from time to time. We've provided source links for each statistic. Sometimes you’ll find the data conflicts with other sources - so we’ll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated regularly with the latest and greatest. If you know of a stat we're missing, or want your own research included in our collection, leave us a note in the comments. Enjoy!

Travel Costs: How Much People Spend

  • $1,036 billion was spent on traveling in 2017 (US Travel Association)
  • 2.7% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) attributed to travel and tourism (US Travel Association)
  • Business travel accounted for $317.2 billion in spending in 2017 (US Travel Association)
  • Leisure travel accounted for $718.4 billion in spending in 2017 (US Travel Association)
  • Americans spend $101.1 Billion on summer vacations (Travel Agent Central)
  • On average, Americans will spend $1,978 on summer vacations (Allianz Travel Insurance)
  • The average international trip for American travelers now costs $6,080 (Squaremouth)
  • Vacationing millennials (ages 18-34) spent, on average, $1,373 on summer vacations (Allianz Travel Insurance)
  • Baby Boomers (ages 55+) spent an average of $1,865 on summer vacations (Allianz Travel Insurance)
  • Generation X (ages 35-54) spent an average of $2,628 on summer vacations (Allianz Travel Insurance)
  • The typical traveler anticipates spending nearly $3,900 on vacations in 2018 (Destination Analysts)
  • 30% of families estimated they spent between $2,500-$5,000 on traveling with their family (NYU)
  • On average, Americans in the South spent less on vacationing ($564 on domestic and $3,169 on international) compared to the Northeast, Midwest, and West (Reward Expert)
  • Baby Boomers expect to take 4-5 leisure trips next year, spending up to $6,395 on travel expenses - the same or more than they spend in 2017 (AARP)
  • Generation X will spend up to $5,434 on travel and millennials up to $6,802 in 2018 (AARP)
  • 26% of American domestic travel expenses go towards food services, 20% towards public transportation, 20% towards lodging, 17% towards auto transportation, 10% towards recreation/amusement and 7% towards retail (US Travel Association)
  • Lodging costs are about 26% of total travel expenditures for domestic trips, and 21% for international trips (Value Penguin)
  • The average cost for American travelers to visit Norway is $9,754 (Squaremouth)
  • The average daily rate for hotels in the United States was $126.72 in 2017 (Statista)
  • Activities are the third largest segment of travel at $129 Billion (Phocuswright)
  • $220.4 million was spent on lodging in 2017 (US Travel Association)
  • $106.6 million was spent on recreation/amusement in 2017 (US Travel Association)
  • Food plus alcohol take up about 16% of the budget for an American’s international trips, and about 27% of their domestic trips (Value Penguin)
  • Transportation costs make up 54.3% of international trip expenditures and 39.1% on domestic trips (Reward Expert)
  • More than 25% of travel costs go toward food for domestic travel and 16.2% for international travel (Reward Expert)
  • The typical vacationing U.S. family spends about 44% of their travel funds getting to, from, and around their destinations (Value Penguin)
  • The average traveler spends about 9% of their vacation budget on entertainment (Value Penguin)
  • 65.3% of Americans say that leisure travel is somewhat of a budget priority for them (Destiantion Analysts)
  • 47% of millennials say cost is a barrier for why they won’t travel (AARP)
  • 83% of families will splurge on their travel destination when planning a vacation, 68% on paid attractions, 68% on staying close to their destination, 63% on eating out/food and 63% on the length of their trip (NYU)
  • 62% of families will skimp on souvenirs/shopping when planning a vacation (NYU)
  • 24% of solo travelers spend more than $1,500 for one week of vacation (excluding airfare) (Solo Traveler World)
  • People outside of the U.S. spend approximately $4,360 when they visit the U.S. and stay an average of 18 nights (US Travel Association)

Traveler Demographics: A Profile of People Who Travel

  • 40% of Millennial travelers will take a vacation with their friends in the next year (Resonance Consultancy)
  • American women rank first in solo traveling and are more likely to take three trips or more in a given year (Resonance Consultancy)
  • 62% of Millennial parents are traveling with kids under the age of 5 (Resonance Consultancy – D.K. Shifflet & Assocaites)
  • Roughly 35% of Millennial travelers prefer upscale and luxury hotels/resorts (Resonance Consultancy)
  • 25% of families went on a family vacation that was 1-3 nights in duration (NYU)
  • 80% of families take a vacation during summer (NYU)
  • 42% of families take a spring break vacation (NYU)
  • 24% of families have traveled internationally with their children for multiple days (NYU)
  • 43% of solo travelers travel three or more times in a year (Solo Traveler World)
  •  46% of women traveling solo said they travel alone for freedom, independence, and the chance to do what they want, when they want (Solo Traveler World)
  • 96% of people ages 25-34 are likely to travel independently (Solo Traveler World)
  • 19% of people ages 25-34 have been or are likely to go on a cruise, 9% of ages 35-44 and 41% of ages 65+ (Solo Traveler World)
  • 54% of people ages 35-44 take vacation for adventure (Solo Traveler World)
  • 79% of Americans would consider taking a long distance international trip during winter (Qantas)
  • 58% of Millennials would travel solo and 26% already have (The Cashlorette)
  • 26% of Millennial women have traveled solo before and 27% have not but would consider doing so in the future (The Cashlorette)
  • 50% of families who had paid vacation time did not use all of their vacation days in 2016 (NYU)
  • 21% of families have taken their children to an all-inclusive resort for vacation, 68% on a family road trip, and 68% on a beach vacation (NYU)
  • Women book tours and activities 67% of the time (TrekkSoft)
  • Women are over 10% more likely to take out loans for the sake of taking a vacation (Bustle)
  • Of people who traveled in 2016, 24% were solo travelers, 47% were adults, and 29% were adults with children (US Travel Association)
  • 28% of low income travelers used a train on their last trip (Trip Advisor)
  • 30% of people ages 55+ take a cruise for their vacation (Trip Advisor)
  • Travelers with high incomes are more likely to have taken many different types of trips: adventure travel (33%), music event (31%), other festival (30%), cruise (27%), and skiing/snowboarding (20%) (Trip Advisor)
  • Low income travelers are more likely to have traveled independently (38%) compared to middle (31%) and high income (31%) travelers (Trip Advisor)

Travel Destinations: Where People Go When They Travel

  • The Southeast region of the U.S. (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana) captured the largest share of domestic online searches for vacation lodging at 34% followed by the Far West (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada) at 23%, the Mideast (New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania) at 14%, the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma) at 11%, Great Lakes Region (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio) at 7%, Rocky Mountain Range (Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado) at 5%, the Plains Region (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri) at 3% and the New England Region  (Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine) at 3% (US Travel Association)
  • Top 10 U.S. destinations for travel agencies in 2018 include: Alaskan Cruises (47.9%), Orlando (38.6%), Las Vegas (35.4%), Maui (30.9%), NYC (27.7%), Honolulu (25.7%), Hawaiian Cruise (16.5%), Miami/Miami Beach (15.5%), Washington D.C. (14.7%), Los Angeles (12.9%) (Travel Leaders Group)
  • Top 10 international travel locations for travel agencies in 2018 include: Caribbean Cruise (34.7%), Cancun (28.3%), Cruise – Europe (River) (23.1%),  Cruise – Europe (Mediterranean) (17.4%), Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (17.2%), Rome (16%), London (15.5%), Amsterdam and Montego Bay, Jamaica (12.6%), Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico (11.4%), and Pairs (11.1%) (Travel Leaders Group)
  • Iceland welcomed 2.2 million foreign travelers in 2017, with 32.9% of arrivals being in the winter months (Iceland Tourist Board)
  • 38% of Millennial travelers are likely to visit a major metropolitan city in the next year (Resonance Consultancy)
  • 40% of Millennial travelers are likely to visit a beach resort in the next year (Resonance Consultancy)
  • Traveling to Mexico has dropped from 22% in 2017 to 9% for 2018 (AARP)
  • Travel to the United Kingdom has dropped from 15% in 2017 to 6% for 2018 (AARP)
  • Travel to Canada has dropped from 17% in 2017 to 4% for 2018 (AARP)
  • 7% of millennials, 3% of Gen X and 6% of Baby Boomers expect to travel only to international destinations (AARP)
  • 42% of millennials, 51% of Gen X, and 51% of Baby Boomers expect to travel only to domestic destinations (AARP)
  • 51% of millennials, 46% of Gen X and 43% of Baby Boomers expect to travel to both domestic and international destinations (AARP)
  • 75% of people travel within the U.S. and farther than a bordering state (Travel Leaders Group)
  • 39.8% of people travel internationally (Canada, Mexico, and/or Caribbean) (Travel Leaders Group)
  • 39.5% of people travel within their home state (Travel Leaders Group)
  • 33.1% of people travel to a bordering state (Travel Leaders Group)
  • 24% of Americans travel internationally (Europe) (Travel Leaders Group)
  • 35% of Americans, are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family (AAA
  • 55% of families have taken their children on vacation to Florida, 31% to California, and 26% to New York (NYU)
  • 43% of families have traveled to a National Park with their children for family vacations (NYU)
  • Road trips represented 22% of vacations taken by American travelers in 2016 (MMGY Global)
  • 57% of global travelers take a beach vacation (Trip Advisor)
  • 56% of global travelers choose a destination to explore city history (Trip Advisor)
  • 52% of global travelers go on vacation to visit family/friends (Trip Advisor)
  • 26% of global travelers go on vacation to attend an event or festival (Trip Advisor)

Reasons & Decisions: Why People Travel & How They Decide

  • U.S. travelers took 466.2 million domestic trips for business, and 1,779.7 million for leisure (Statista). That compares with 458.9 million domestic business trips (Statista) and 1,745.5 million domestic trips for leisure purposes (Statista) in 2016
  • Nearly 74% of domestic trips are for leisure purposes (US Travel Association)
  • U.S. residents logged 463.9 million person‑trips (one person on a trip away from home overnight in paid accommodations or on a day or overnight trip to places 50 miles or more away from home) for business purposes, with 38% for meetings and events (US Travel Association)
  • 42% of people travel to visit friends/relatives, 8% for outdoor recreation purposes, 13% for entertainment/sightseeing, 15% for other pleasure/personal reasons, 3% for conventions/conferences/seminars, 7% for general business purposes and 4% for other reasons  (US Travel Association)
  • 35% of travelers take vacations to try local delicacies (Booking.com)
  • 51% of people travel to recharge their batteries when they feel stressed, busy, and tired (Intrepid Adventure Travel Index)
  • One in five people plan to take health and well-being trips (Yoga and Meditation Retreats, Weight Loss and Fitness Retreats, etc.) in 2018, almost double the amount of people compared to 2017 (Booking.com)
  • 46% of families have taken their children on trips for family reunions (NYU)
  • 49% of families said their main priority when they take a family vacation is to visit new places and explore together, 42% to relax and unwind together, and 6% to be active and outdoors together (NYU)
  • 45% of global travelers start their booking process by deciding on a specific destination (Trip Advisor)
  • 59% of pre-travel research takes place between one and three months before traveling (Trip Advisor)  
  • 86% of travelers use online resources when deciding on their accommodation (Trip Advisor)
  • 73% of travelers use online sources when deciding on their destination (Trip Advisor)
  • 77% of families said that “best value/price for our budget” was the most important factor when deciding where to stay on vacation (NYU)
  • 49% of travelers won’t book a hotel without reviews (Statistic Brain)
  • 25% of families had used a travel agent and 75% hadn't for their family vacations in the past five years (NYU)
  • 59% of families said travel websites (TripAdvisor, Expedia, etc.) were resources they used for information or inspirations for where to go and what to do, 10% said instagram, 74% said search engines, 51% said travel review websites, 30% said social media, 12% said travel agents, and 8% said blogs  (NYU)
  • 58.2% of travelers used any user-generated content to help plan their leisure travel, 32.5% used reviews from hotel, 29.6% used travel reviews of destinations, 30.8% used reviews of restaurants or activities, 13.5% used travel itinerary or blogs, 33.3% used Facebook and 26.3% used group discount websites (Destination Analysts)
  • 56% of solo travelers said the top factor they look for in a destination is safety (Travel Agent Central)
  • More than 40% of business trips in the past year have included a leisure portion added on (Expedia Media Solutions)
  • 25% of Americans who travel for a business trip will extend the trip for personal travel (AARP)
  • 64% of Millennials prefer booking on travel websites for hotels, 47% prefer booking through specific hotel, resort and airline websites, and 24% prefer to book through travel agents (Resonance Consultancy)
  • 79% of travelers who use a smartphone complete a booking after researching on their smartphones (Think With Google)
  • 65% of hotel bookings were made on the same day as researching on a smartphone (Statistic Brain)

Travel Activities: What People Do When They Travel

  • 65% of travelers visited art/history museums, 59% aquariums, 56% science museums, 55% theme parks, and 55% zoos in 2017 (MMGY Global)
  • 34% of those who travel want to visit a world famous theme park (Booking.com)
  • 54% of travelers go shopping during their summer vacation, 49% visit historical sights, 49% go swimming or do water sports, 46% go to a park or national park, and 46% go on sightseeing tours (Statistic Brain)
  • 73% of travelers with children have taken their children to theme parks on vacation (NYU)
  • Sunset cruise excursions have gone up by 89% in bookings since 2017 (TripAdvisor)
  • Snorkeling activities have gone up by 64% since last year (TripAdvisor)
  • Sailing trips have gone up by 55% within the last year (TripAdvisor)
  • Since 2017, catamaran cruises have gone up by 51% (TripAdvisor)
  • Kayaking and canoeing experiences have gone up by 49% since last year (TripAdvisor)
  • 33% of travelers will visit a spa or receive beauty treatments (Booking.com)
  • 15% of travelers will attend meditation/mindfulness retreats (Booking.com)

Other Travel Statistics

  • More than 60% of travelers would consider an impulse trip based on a good hotel or flight deal (Think With Google)
  • Booking.com found that 80% of customers prefer mobile booking to get the information that they need (TechRadar)
  • 72% of all mobile bookings made by travelers happened within a 48-hour window prior to booking (Sojern)
  • 38% of all mobile bookings are made on the same day or two days before a trip (PhocusWright)
  • 53% of all mobile bookings are made within a week of a trip (PhocusWright)
  • Only 19% of all mobile bookings are made more than a month in advance (PhocusWright)
  • 40% of global travelers choose to stay in eco-friendly places to help reduce environmental impact, 34% to have a locally relevant experience, and 33% to feel good about an accommodation choice (Booking.com)
  • The primary mode of transportation for domestic and international travel are: plane (66% domestic & 87% international), cruises (5% domestic & 35% international), train (6% domestic & 16% international), rental car (24% domestic & 14% international), personal car (60% domestic & 13% international), and buses (2% domestic & 10% international) (AARP)
  • 6% of travelers end up paying for local transportation, like taxis, as part of their yearly vacation budget (Value Penguin)
  • 61% of families stay in a hotel while on vacation with children and 22% stay in a resort (NYU)
  • 37% of travelers go on road trips on Independence Day, 29% on Memorial Day, and 27% on Labor Day (Statistic Brain)
  • Airbnb had 80 million bookings by guests in (Resonance Cosultancy)
  • 26% of ages 18-34 used a train during their vacation (Trip Advisor)

     

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Incentives, Member Benefits, Travel, value enhancement, travel club incentives, tourism statistics, vacation statistics, business travel statistics, travel statistics

Written by: Andrew Graft

VP of Corporate Marketing for Access Development. Professional marketer. Amateur guitarist. HR husband. Weapons-grade consumer of diet Coke.

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