Facing Economic Obstacles, Americans Hit the Brakes on Leisure Travel

July 21, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Travel & Hospitality

The tourism industry risks being hit with significant declines in leisure travel volume and spending, according to the findings of Destination Analysts’ bi-annual “The State of the American Traveler” survey (pdf).

The top impediments to travel remain high gasoline prices (57.8%), personal financial reasons (49.5%) and expensive airfare (35.2%) – in all cases up significantly since the survey was first conducted in July 2006:


Among other findings of the survey American leisure travelers:

  • 45.8% say they expect to reduce the number of leisure trips they will take in the coming year in direct response to the overall economic climate.
  • 29.8% say they will spend less for leisure in the next 12 months – a figure that has more than doubled from just six months earlier.


  • Nearly one-in-four (23.6%) report that in the past 12 months they have taken a “staycation” – a vacation spent at home – in response to gasoline prices.
  • Moreover, 28.5% say they plan to take a staycation in the next 12 months.
  • The average number of trips the typical American has taken in the past 12 months has fallen 7.3% to 5.1.

” With more than half of travelers saying they will actively look for travel bargains and discounts and another third saying they will visit less expensive destinations, affordability is certain to be top-of-mind,” said Erin Francis, managing partner of Destination Analysts. “In this climate, destinations, hotels, and others that market to leisure travelers must provide compelling offers that promise and deliver value.”

About the survey: The State of the American Traveler survey is conducted every six months by Destination Analysts. The summer 2008 survey was conducted online among a nationally representative sample of adult Americans. June 27-30, surveys were collected from a group of respondents who had traveled at least once in the past 12 months for purely leisure or personal reasons. In total, 1,014 leisure travelers completed the survey.


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