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HomeStatistics & TrendsNearly three in five Americans plan to travel for leisure this summer despite the economy
Costa Concordia cruise ship accident has had little impact on American's desire to take a cruise

Nearly three in five Americans plan to travel for leisure this summer despite the economy

Many Americans are continuing on with their summertime travel and vacation plans this year, despite the economy. More than two in five U.S. adults (44%) say the economy does not have any impact on their travel plans, which is a slight increase from 2009 (40%) and a decrease from 2010 (46%). Just under one in ten (8%) say they will be more likely to travel (up from 6% in 2010)…

Many Americans are continuing on with their summertime travel and vacation plans this year, despite the economy. More than two in five U.S. adults (44%) say the economy does not have any impact on their travel plans, which is a slight increase from 2009 (40%) and a decrease from 2010 (46%). Just under one in ten (8%) say they will be more likely to travel (up from 6% in 2010) and 36% say they will be less likely to travel (same as 2010) because of the economy.

It is leisure travel that is getting all the attention this season. Three in five (60%) adults have planned at least one leisure trip through August (down slightly from 65% and 66% in 2009 and 2010, respectively), and 15% plan to travel for leisure more than three times this summer. When asked the same about travel plans for business, less than one in five adults (19%) anticipate traveling for business during the summer months, slightly down from 2009 (23%) and the same as in 2010 (19%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,634 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) surveyed online between May 7 and May 15, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

For those that are not planning to travel this season, it may be due to gas prices. Nearly half (47%) of Americans report that current gas prices may impact their likelihood to travel this summer, while only 35% shared that it will have no impact on their plans.

Even so, there is a sharp increase in the anticipated travel spend for 2012 (with a mean of $3,136) compared to 2010 (with a mean of $1,627). In fact, when accounting for transportation, accommodations, food/beverage and activities, 47% expect to spend more than $1,000 in 2012 compared to 34% who expected to spend that much in 2010.

Are Americans still going on a cruise?
Global publicity around the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship in Italy earlier this year has had very little impact on American’s likelihood to take another cruise. Among those travelers that have cruised in the past or plan to in the future, two-thirds (65%) shared that they are no more or less likely to cruise again following the accident. In fact, 12% even reported that they are more likely to cruise despite the event in Italy. In total, nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults (23%) plan to take a cruise in the next five years.

So What?
"While consumers are not necessarily planning on taking more vacations this summer as compared to last, when they do take vacation, they plan on spending more," said Allison Powell, Research Director at Harris Interactive.  "Despite the uncertainty in the economy, people need their vacation time and this is a good thing for the travel industry. They seem to have changed their marketing strategy to reflect this and, since the numbers have held mostly steady year over year, American travelers are paying attention and responding."

LEISURE TRIPS PLANNED
"How many leisure and/or business trips do you anticipate taking over the next four months (May – August)?"
Percent planning "leisure trips"

  Total 2009 Total 2010 Total 2012
% % %
0 Trips 35 34 39
1-2 Trips 48 47 45
3-4 Trips 15* 13 9
5+ Trips 2* 6 6
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding;
*In 2009 the nets were taken of 3-5 trips and 6+ trips, respectively.

BUSINESS TRIPS PLANNED
"How many leisure and/or business trips do you anticipate taking over the next four months (May – August)?"
Percent planning "business trips"

  Total 2009 Total 2010 Total 2012
% % %
0 Trips 77 81 81
1-2 Trips 9* 13 12
3-4 Trips 11* 3 3
5+ Trips 3* 3 4
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding;
*In 2009 the nets were taken of 1 trip, 2-5 trips, and 6+ trips, respectively.
       

LIKELIHOOD TO TRAVEL IN NEXT 4 MONTHS
"How does your outlook on the U.S. economy impact your likelihood to travel within the next 4 months (May-August?)"

  Total 2009 Total 2010 Total 2012
% % %
I am much more likely to travel 3 3 3
I am somewhat more likely to travel 4 3 5
No impact on my likelihood to travel 40 46 44
I am somewhat less likely to travel 23 20 17
I am much less likely to travel 18 16 19
I have no plans to travel 12 13 13
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.

LIKELIHOOD TO TRAVEL IN NEXT 4 MONTHS
"How do current gas prices impact your likelihood to travel within the next 4 months (May-August)?"

  Total 2012
%
I am much more likely to travel 2
I am somewhat more likely to travel 2
No impact on my likelihood to travel 35
I am somewhat less likely to travel 24
I am much less likely to travel 23
I have no plans to travel 14
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.

ANTICIPATED TRAVEL (LEISURE + BUSINESS) SPEND
"Approximately how much do you anticipate you will spend in total (leisure travel/business travel) in the next four months (May – August)? Please consider spending to include transportation, accommodations, food/beverage, activities, etc. Please include spending on items that you will personally pay for (or your company will pay for)."

  Total 2010 Total 2012
% %
$0—$100 7 4
$101—$500 34 25
$501—$750 8 19
$751—$1,000 17 4
More than $1,000 34 47
Mean $1,627 $3,136
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.

CHANGE IN NUMBER AND DURATION OF LEISURE TRIPS
"Compared to your travel last summer (May – August 2011), how will your outlook on the U.S. economy impact the leisure travel you anticipate taking this summer (May – August 2012)?"

  Increase Remain the Same Decrease Not Applicable
% % % %
Number of leisure trips by car 2009 15 50 29 6
2010 16 59 22 3
2012 13 57 26 4
Number of weekend trips  2009 12 44 34 10
2010 14 53 25 8
2012 11 54 27 9
Amount spent on leisure trips 2009 10 40 46 4
2010 12 54 32 2
2012 12 51 35 3
Duration of leisure trips 2009 10 51 35 4
2010 9 60 27 3
2012 10 60 27 3
Number of leisure trips by plane 2009 9 29 33 30
2010 7 36 28 30
2012 7 37 24 32
Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding


GOING ON A CRUISE
"Which of the following have you done or do you plan on doing?"

    Region
Total East Midwest South West
% % % % %
Plan on taking a cruise in the next 5 years 23 22 15 25 29
Have taken a cruise in the past 5 years 14 15 10 14 17
Neither of these 71 71 80 69 64
Note: Multiple responses accepted

IMPACT OF COSTA CONCORDIA ACCIDENT
"To what extent did the accident that caused the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship in Italy impact the likelihood that you will cruise [again] in the future?"

    Region
Total East Midwest South West
% % % % %
More Likely 12 2 10 14 19
 Much more likely 7 1 8 7 10
Somewhat more likely 5 1 2 7 8
No more or less likely 65 70 67 65 61
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