The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the leading organization representing travel agents in the U.S., today released a groundbreaking study that tracks perceptions of American travelers. This year’s wide-ranging study includes reaction to prominent issues like airline regulation and travel bans, collected to help ASTA better advocate for travelers as well as support travel agents as they advise their clients.
How America Travels sheds light on America’s perceptions of travel and better enables The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the travel agent community to serve as the voice of America’s travelers, just as travel agents serve as the voice of their clients every day. This year, in partnership with leading global research firm, Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), ASTA committed to conducting a wide-ranging, scientific survey of the American public to understand their perspectives and priorities. How America Travels gives you the insight you need to best serve new and current clients.
The Changing Landscape for Travel and the Issues Shaping That Chang
The study comes at a time of turmoil for American travelers, a time of highly-publicized airline incidents, travel bans and tightened regulations and restrictions concerning carry-on items. ASTA collected the opinions of more than 1,500 travelers on a wide range of travel topics, including public policy issues such as travel bans and restrictions, airline regulation and a proposed Mexican border wall. Key findings include:
- Americans are evenly split on overall opinion of the Trump Administration’s “travel ban,” along political party lines
- Most Americans (55 percent) believe a travel ban will make U.S. tourists feel less welcome abroad
- More than one in six Millennials have cancelled or called off a foreign trip due to the travel ban
- A large majority (71 percent) say the travel ban has not influenced their likelihood to travel abroad
- Most Americans (54 percent) support travel to Cuba without U.S. government restriction
- Americans are seven times more likely to believe the government favors airlines over passengers
- Eight in 10 Americans support requiring airlines to disclose all fees upfront
- Most Americans (55 percent) say a wall on the Mexican border will make US tourists feel less welcome in Mexico
ASTA presented the study results to its members during the ASTA Capitol Summit event in June in Washington, D.C., which featured compelling educational content as well as the Society’s annual “Legislative Day” where over 100 travel agency executives took to Capitol Hill to speak to lawmakers about the critical issues that face the travel industry and the traveler. ASTA plans to further explore the project’s results with its members during the ASTA Global Convention, August 27-29 in San Diego, CA.
Both the quantitative and qualitative parts of the study provided ASTA and its members with insight into travelers’ perceptions and expectations of travel advisors. They learned, for example, that many travelers are driven to find highly-authentic travel experiences, especially ones that will take them off the beaten path. These travelers want to know their agent has expertise and experience about a desired destination and can understand and adapt to the client’s own travel preferences. ASTA travel agencies are well-positioned to help in this regard, with the average member having been to over 56 countries.
PSB, a global market research and opinion polling firm, conducted a scientific quantitative study of 1,522 Americans ages 25-70 to gauge perceptions regarding a wide range of travel topics. PSB conducted the survey online, and the respondent sample is proportional by race, gender and generation to U.S. Census demographics. Additionally, PSB conducted six focus groups of American travelers to understand their travel perceptions and priorities. The groups took place in Charlotte, Denver and Philadelphia, and were divided into two age groups, 25-35 and 36-45.
Take a look at what we have to offer, which ranges from labor issues to GDS usage to financial benchmarking, at ASTA.org/Publications. And don’t forget that ASTA membership includes preferential pricing for these reports, and in some cases complimentary access. Support your national trade association and join ASTA today!
Kevin serves as Director of Research at ASTA since 2015.
Kevin brings to ASTA over 20 years of professional experience with over 12 years in the travel and tourism industry, including at the U.S. Travel Association and Choice Hotels International, where he frequently shared research insights and information at conferences and seminars with his expertise in managing quantitative and qualitative research studies, projects and programs.
Kevin earned his M.B.A. from the George Washington University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).