American travelers reduce budgets, still spend more than Europeans

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The results of GGA 19th annual Holiday Barometer were released today. This year’s barometer found that the number of Americans who indicated that they would be taking vacation this summer held steady at 68 percent equal to the number of respondents in Brazil (68%) and five points higher than the number of European respondents (63%).

There were several interesting differences when it came to responses from Europeans, Americans, and Brazilians this year. US travelers indicated their travel budget for this year reduced by 10 percent to $2,373 (€2,131) while Europeans indicated that their travel budgets increased by 3 percent to € 2,019. The increase was mainly attributable to countries in the Euro Zone (which excludes the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Poland) as budgets increased to €2,099 for that region. Brazilian travelers also indicated that their budgets decreased by almost 3 percent to R$ 5,058 (€1,138).

“In the 19th annual holiday barometer, we have seen the consolidation of many of the positive trends we have recognized in recent years,” said Chris Carnicelli, CEO of GGA. “While Americans have experienced a 10 percent reduction in their travel budgets, they are still the highest of those surveyed.”

Americans are last in terms of how much vacation time they’ll take this year with respondents indicating 1.4 weeks on average. Interestingly, Brazil led all respondents at 2.2 weeks of vacation while Europe was close behind at an average of 1.8 weeks. Part of the 10 percent reduction in travel budget may have to do with where the majority of Americans plan on taking their vacation this year. While 35 percent haven’t decided on their destination yet, 50 percent of Americans indicated they would be traveling domestically this summer. In terms of destination type, American travelers were pretty closely split between beach (45%) and city (42%) destinations while Europeans (62%) and Brazilians (50%) preferred beach vacations.

One commonality was that budget was the most important factor when making plans to all European, American, and Brazilian travelers. Americans ranked taking part in leisure and cultural activities and the climate as their second and third biggest considerations, respectively. Risk of a personal attack and a terrorist attack rounded out Americans’ four and five spots, while comparatively Brazilians ranked them as their fourth and third biggest concerns. Europeans, on the other hand, ranked risk of terrorism as their fourth largest concern with risk of a personal attack coming in at number six. That said, the number of travelers who indicated they were concerned about terrorism was down across the board with percentages for Europeans, Americans, and Brazilians all dropping by six to seven points from years prior.

Americans are some of the most outdoorsy when it comes to atypical vacation activities with 46 percent indicating they would like to spend their summer vacation camping in the wilderness. That is compared to only 28 percent of Europeans who indicated they would do the same. Interestingly, Polish travelers had the highest number of respondents who indicated they would like to spend their vacation camping in the wilderness (52%). That said, Americans were also the most likely to work on their vacation with just 54 percent indicating they would be disconnecting completely – compared to the United Kingdom (76%), France (71%), Italy (67%), and Brazil (63%). Furthermore, 50 percent of US travelers indicated they would spend 30 minutes to 2 hours on work during their vacation time.

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