New Visa Global Travel Intentions study showcases consumer’s hunger for travel in the post COVID economy, despite rising costs
Visa announced the results of its 2023 U.S. edition of the Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, revealing emerging trends in consumer behaviors and preferences for outbound and inbound cross-border travel. Travel has surged post-COVID and there are no signs of retreating, despite rising costs. According to U.S. Travel Association’s recent Travel Price Index, travel costs have increased 4.4%, and while most Americans surveyed by Visa (73%) notice an increase in costs, only 6% of travelers plan to cancel or delay their plans.
U.S. Outbound Traveler Insights:
- Prioritizing days away for leisure: American international travelers surveyed took an average of three international trips for around seven days, but Gen Z spent longer away at more than 8 days. Travelers prioritize trips for relaxation (47%), followed by exploring something new (35%) and seeking adventures (33%). Australia, Canada, France and United Kingdom are top destinations for 2024.
- Big spenders: Those in our survey reported an average trip spend of $4,204, with more than 60% of total spend purchases at destinations leading travelers to budget more for on-site needs.
- Digital payments savvy: Digital wallets have become an integral aspect of the travel experience for 74% of travelers, most prominent amongst affluents (83%) and millennials (82%). 85% of travelers used their main domestic card internationally.
- Cash creates stress: Cash is still preferred as a payment method, but stresses travelers due to potential theft, cost of currency conversion and leftovers. After a trip, our respondents reported having an average of $40 USD in unused local currency and 24% of respondents felt compelled to make a purchase because they had foreign cash leftover.
- Travelers embrace control and independence: Our survey found 60% of travelers are willing to pay a higher price to enjoy the flexibility to accommodate changes in their trip plans.
- Embracing sustainable travel options: 76% of surveyed travelers will choose eco-travel options if they are available at the same price or cheaper than alternative options, specifically accommodations.
U.S. Inbound Traveler Insights:
- Self-care and Casual Dining: Relaxation and shopping were the top motivators for travelers to U.S. Dining is also high on the list with 60% of respondents choosing casual dining options like street food and cafes over fine dining.
- Repeat Inbound Visitors: More than half of travelers to the U.S. in the survey (52%) plan to revisit over the next year, especially those from South Africa, Canada and India. Top visitor volume comes from Latin America, followed by Asia Pacific, with most travelers booking accommodation and transportation less than three months prior and local attractions around one month prior to embarking.
- Payment issues point to cash: Tourists embrace cashless options in the U.S. as travelers in our survey carried payment cards (98%) and used digital wallets (54%). However for those that did carry cash, about 45% encountered a cash-related issue, including handling dollars and coins, finding money changers, inability to make a purchase because they ran out of dollars or lost cash.
“Americans expect a seamless, digitally connected travel journey whether they are here in the U.S. or abroad,” said Kirk Stuart, Senior Vice President, Head of North America Merchant, Acquiring & Enablement, Visa. “By using the insights from this study to elevate digital payments, Visa and our travel partners can create more seamless travel experiences for consumers."
With both inbound and outbound travelers noting payment concerns related to card acceptance and fraud, Visa is teaming up with U.S. creators for a travel social series called “Destination You” on Instagram and TikTok. The series will follow several creators’ journeys traveling internationally, with each journey dictated by their followers via live social polling. Creators dive into their passions while Visa enables every moment with the ease of digital payments. The content highlights Visa’s broad acceptance and dispels digital payment concerns by highlighting the Visa Zero Liability guarantee and Emergency Card Services, both of which can help protect your card if lost, stolen or fraudulently used.
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