What Spooked the U.S. Leisure Traveler?

Published August 2017 Analyst: Cathy Walsh


The U.S. leisure travel population fell to 145 million in 2016, decreasing for the first time since 2011. The decline came a year after leisure travel incidence surpassed the pre-recession peak for the first time to hit a new high of 72%. But instead of maintaining their confident outlook, U.S. consumers pulled back on travel, with just two thirds of Americans taking a leisure trip. New Phocuswright research found that those who did travel took fewer trips and spent less; average annual travel spend declined more than $500.

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Amid a contentious presidential election year and the rising threat of terrorism abroad, financial worries still held travelers back. Among U.S. adults who skipped vacationing in 2016, more than half cited financial considerations. U.S. consumers' cold feet had implications for a range of travel trends. Many Americans who did travel did so on a tighter budget, impacting trip length and destination selection.

But 2017 is a new year, and the outlook is positive amid a strong U.S. economy. For essential insight into key consumer trends and traveler intentions for the next 12 months, check out Phocuswright's U.S. Consumer Travel Report Ninth Edition.

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