According to newly released research from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), travel advisors are becoming increasingly valuable to travelers. In fact, 50% of people are more likely to use an agent today than they were in the past, which represents a 14% year-over-year increase.
Contributing to this boost is the 68% of Americans who agree that “planning a trip is more complex now,” and want help navigating the confusing landscape. The study also reveals an 8% increase in agreement with the following statements: “In today’s environment, the expertise of a travel advisor will put me more at ease about my travel plans,” and “utilizing a travel advisor to plan my dream vacation is a great way to find the best value for my travel investment.”
“Our research clearly shows that Americans are increasingly excited to travel and are turning to travel advisors to ensure they are getting the experiences they deserve,” said Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors.
More Findings: Travel Is the Top Discretionary Spend
In other findings from the survey, 47% of respondents rank a vacation as their top discretionary spend (twice as many as the second choice of a home improvement or renovation). And the number of Americans who intend to spend more on travel has increased 17% since late 2022, with the millennial and Gen Z generations 22% more likely than the average American to spend more on travel this year.
So far for 2023, 63% of respondents have concrete travel plans, and 39% have already spent more on travel this year than in the past.
Cruising and International Trips Are at the Top of Travelers’ Lists
When it comes to what kind of trips are being planned, cruises are a top response, with the number of travelers taking a cruise up 40% since last year’s survey.
International travel also continues to be in high demand, with 30% of Americans planning to go abroad this year. Among them, millennials and Gen Z are the most eager to travel internationally, and 42% of intend to do so in 2024. Western Europe is the part of the world travelers are most likely to visit next, with London, Paris and Rome ranking as top hot spots. Other trending international regions include the Caribbean and Australia.
Within the U.S., destinations that lead the way include Hawaii; Alaska; Las Vegas; Nashville; Orlando, Fla.; and San Diego, Calif.