Building upon the significant gains from 2022, new research by MMGY Travel Intelligence indicates that the American tourism industry will experience another blockbuster summer in 2023. According to the latest edition of the research firm’s Portrait of American Travelers® study, more than three-quarters of U.S. adults plan to take a vacation in the next 12 months, with nearly half of all adults (48%) planning to travel this summer specifically.
“Though certain segments continue to lag, including the meetings/conventions and corporate transient travel categories, American interest in travel as a whole remains very, very high,” said Chris Davidson, Executive Vice President of MMGY Travel Intelligence.
The survey, which examines the behaviors and preferences of more than 4,500 U.S. adults on a quarterly basis, also found that most Americans now regard travel as a direct reflection of their self-identity. More than half of all survey respondents (51%) agreed with the notion that the places they visit say a lot about who they are.
“This notion of self-expression through travel – or ‘identity travel’ – indicates that Americans, now more than ever, seem to be seeking out destinations and activities that best align with their unique ideals and values,” said Davidson. “As American travelers become more discerning with their dollar, marketers should take greater note of this changing mindset, working to clearly articulate and deliver on their brand values to attract those who see life through a similar lens.”
Other key observations from the Portrait of American Travelers® “Summer Edition” follow.
• Despite the strong summer outlook, inflation and rising travel costs overall are causing an increasing number of people to opt out of travel altogether in the short term. Nearly 1 in 5 adults say they have no travel plans at all, up from just 5% of adults in 2021.
• Traveler interest remains high on cannabis tourism. In fact, more than a third of U.S. travelers stated interest in participating in a cannabis-related activity while on vacation while 31% voiced interest in cannabis effects that could complement and enhance their culinary experiences.
• Road trips reign supreme. Although the survey found that road trip intentions are down slightly compared to this time last year (72%), the category remains extremely healthy as a whole. In fact, 63% of travelers said they embarked on a road trip in the past 12 months – the highest percentage ever recorded in the survey’s history.
• International travel intentions are holding strong as more Asia-Pacific countries increasingly “open up” to American travelers. Three-quarters of active leisure travelers (76%) expressed interest in traveling abroad during the next two years, with younger generations leading in this area (Gen Zers at 89% and Millennials at 84%).
• In regards to top destinations, Hawaii leads the way for domestic travel interest, followed closely by top mainstay locales Las Vegas, California, the Florida Keys, New York City and Orlando. Internationally, Europe holds the highest traveler interest, followed by destinations in the Caribbean, Canada and Mexico.
• Finally, bespoke travel is the new luxury travel. Only a third of travelers making more than $100,000 a year consider themselves “luxury travelers.” However, the ability to locate and book an adventure that others cannot is a new form of social currency. In fact, three-quarters of travelers surveyed agree that the memories they take from vacations are more valuable than any material item they purchased in the last year.
The 2023 Portrait of American Travelers® “Summer Edition” also includes data intelligence on family travel, the use of travel agents, vacation motivators and other special modules. For more insights or to purchase a copy of the study, visit mmgyintel.com.
About the 2023 Portrait of American Travelers®
MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers® study provides an in-depth examination of the impact of the current economic environment, prevailing social values, and emerging travel habits, preferences and intentions of Americans. Now in its 33rd year, it is widely regarded as a leading barometer of travel trends and an essential tool for both the development and evolution of brand and marketing strategy. The travel trend information presented in this “Summer Edition” report was obtained from interviews with 4,501 U.S. adults in April and May 2023 featuring data from four generations: Gen Zers (18–25), Millennials (26–41), Gen Xers (42–57) and Boomers (58–76). The Silent/GI generation (77+) was also surveyed, but results are not broken out for this specific generation due to a small respondent sample size. This is the second of four quarterly reports to be released this year.
About MMGY Global
MMGY Global is the world’s leading integrated marketing firm specializing in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries. With operating brands across the world, the award-winning organization maintains a global communications practice in all marketing channels, serving many of the world’s premier travel and tourism brands. As a company dedicated to the travel industry, MMGY Global strives to create a connected, inclusive and peaceful world by promoting travel as a cultural bridge of understanding. For more information, visit mmgyglobal.com.