New Surveys Give Insight Into U.S. Travelers and Spending Trends

Italy ranks as a top travel destination and luxury spending is making a comeback

Two new recent surveys released by American Express Publishing Corporation and Harrison Group and Harris Interactive reveal trends among U.S. travelers and consumers with regard to luxury spending and travel destinations of interest. 

Italy ranked number one as U.S. travelers’ preferred international travel destination.// © 2010

Italy ranked number one as U.S. travelers’ preferred international travel destination.// © 2010

An online Harris Poll conducted from June 14-21 among 2,227 adults by Harris Interactive demonstrated that most Americans would choose Italy as their number one international vacation destination if cost were not a determining factor. Last year, Australia was ranked at the top of the list, but it has since fallen to the number two spot according to this year’s survey results. Ireland ranked third, followed by Great Britain and France. Greece and Germany tied for the sixth spot, while Japan came in at number eight, followed by Spain and New Zealand. Other favored destinations in the top 20 included Israel, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Among men who were surveyed, the top destination was Australia, while most women chose Italy. Of those surveyed, nearly half (49 percent) chose destinations in Europe; 24 percent chose a destination in Asia or the Pacific; 11 percent chose destinations in the Americas or the Caribbean; 4 percent chose a country in Africa; and 3 percent chose a destination in the Middle East.

The 2010 Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America, produced by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group, showed that luxury consumption among U.S. consumers is predicted to increase by $28 billion and that luxury spending is beginning to rebound. This comeback is being aided by an increase in the number of discretionary households and the fact that fewer people (45 percent compared to last year’s 54 percent) feel guilt or angst over purchasing luxury goods. According to survey researchers, these shifts will translate into an estimated surge of $56 billion in affluent and wealthy discretionary spending, of which $28 billion will be spent in key luxury market categories such as high-end travel. The survey, which is fielded monthly, has thus far interviewed 1,910 respondents whose mean sample household income is $520,000.

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