Here’s a bit of good news for the travel and tourism industry: After years of penny-pinching, global travelers no longer claim budgets to be the top concern when choosing a holiday destination.
In fact, Visa’s latest Travel Intentions Study shows budgets are actually going up.
According to the study, which looked at the behavioral trends of 12,631 travelers from 25 nations, the average global travel budget is set to increase 5 percent to $2,501 from $2,390 last year. Researchers claim travelers from Asian markets will increase their budgets by an average of 46 percent, with those from Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong doubling what they spent on their last trip.
"Global economic woes have been well-documented over the past few years but our Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 hints at a change in both the financial landscape and consumer mindset, suggesting either economic recovery or a growing appetite for larger travel budgets. Both provide excellent news for everyone involved in the global travel and tourism industry," Ross Jackson, Visa’s head of cross-border business and client marketing for Asia-Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, commented on the findings.
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"Understanding these changes is key for facilitating collaboration, encouraging informed engagement and promoting growth across the travel industry,” Jackson added.
Though travelers from Asia have shown the largest growth in expenses, Saudi tourists retained their top spot on the big spender list, averaging a whopping $6,666 per trip.
Australians ($4,118) and Chinese ($3,824) spent large sums on holidays as well, while travelers from Asia Pacific as a whole averaged $273 per day on trips, compared to a global average of $239.
Attractions, scenery and culture were cited as the key drivers for future trips, a desire evident on the latest Unwto World Tourism Barometer, which revealed that international tourist arrivals grew by 4 percent in 2012 to surpass the 1 billion mark for the first time.
The Visa study showed that the United States’ new tourism campaign, Brand USA, has succeeded in making the U.S. the most popular destination on the planet, with 10 percent of surveyed global travelers suggesting they will visit in 2013. Other top destinations included the U.K., France, China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.
The rise in Asian travelers, researchers said, will bolster regional travel, making nearly one-third of all trips in 2013 to nations in Asia-Pacific.
"The Asian markets have experienced a huge boom in tourism over the past few years due to the continued strength of their economies and the implementation of policies that promote cooperation and coordination in cross-border tourism,” explained Martin Craigs, CEO of Pacific Asia Travel Association. “The ease of travel within the region, coupled with a rising middle class, has seen a growing demand for travel among the population, and we expect this trend to continue into 2013 and beyond."
All told, researchers claimed the study paints a picture of today’s global travelers: They’re seasoned (taking one or two trips per year), they’re more likely to organize trips independently and they will stay an average of 10 nights -- and if they’re coming from Asia-Pacific, you can expect them to spend a few extra bucks.