The number of US citizens traveling to international destinations grows
The number of passengers increased from 26 million in 2000 to more than 38 million in 2017, according to Zane Kerby, president and CEO of ASTA
The number of Americans traveling outside of North America increased from 26 million in 2000 to more than 38 million in 2017, according to Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). ) during a session on the stage of the Americas Inspiration Zone of WTM London.
Americans are spending an average of just under $ 4,000 on those international trips outside of North America, while total spending has doubled since 2000 to reach $ 145 billion annually.
"Americans are becoming more intrepid, they get on planes and they go to places outside the Western Hemisphere," Kerby said.
Kerby added that the profile of the average traveler in the United States also changed during that period, and that women are increasingly influencing travel decisions.
"In 2000, the average traveler was male, 45 years old, and planned the trip with 86 days in advance," he said. "Now, the average international traveler is female and spends 105 days planning the trip."
The millennial generation, which now amounts to 70 million, is also changing the nature of the US market.
"Millennials are the first generation that instead of going and seeing something, they want to do something," Kerby explained.
Despite this desire for more experiential vacations, the main reason for American travelers to go on vacation is to relax (64%), followed by spending time with the family (59%).
Kerby revealed that Europe's market share as a destination for Americans is declining since 2000 and now only accounts for 37.8% of trips outside North America (against 49.8%); On the other hand, both the Caribbean and Central America witnessed a growth in market share during this period.
The Caribbean was also the center of attention during a session on how destinations can "Plan, Prepare and Protect" in terms of crises like the devastating hurricanes of last year.
Dominic Fedee, Minister of Tourism of Saint Lucia, said: "Even the countries that were not directly affected suffered tremendous damage to their brands and the entire region was damaged."
The Tourism Minister of Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett, added that the region needs to improve its resilience and its ability to cope with natural disasters.
"We need to develop more capacity, that is what will really save us from annihilation, because these disruptions will continue to happen," he said.
"As economies, we depend a lot on tourism, the region is at risk."
Bartlett said that the new World Resilience and Crisis Management Center in Tourism was formed to study how countries can improve their capacity to recover from natural disasters and other major disruptions.
"We will pass on best practices to the most vulnerable countries in the world," he added. "This is a great turning point in terms of helping countries raise the standards of preparedness for these mega-breaks."
Also in the Caribbean, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority presented a case study on its first conference and exclusive trip for influencers of social networks, held this year.
Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, said: "We wanted to work with influencers that targeted different generations. It was the largest conference of influencers in the Caribbean and we hope that next year it will grow. "
"The market of influencers has no filters and adapts to what consumers are looking for".
The use of social networks and influencers for marketing was a key issue during the session on luxury travel trends, chaired by April Hutchinson, editor of ttgluxury.
Kate Warner, product and PR manager of travel agency Black Tomato, told a packed audience that storytelling and authenticity are also increasingly important.
He added: "Concentrate on people and their stories, especially on destinations. Who are our guides? What are your stories? They usually have remarkable stories and that is an excellent way to promote a certain destination. "
The panel also agreed that personalization is increasingly promoting luxury experiences, particularly in a sector where "luxury means different things to different people."