Industry Update
Press Release30 January 2020

2020 Portrait of American International Travelers™ Survey Shows No Sign of Travel Slow Down

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The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and travel-focused, integrated marketing agency MMGY Global, have partnered to conduct the 2020 Portrait of the American International Traveler Survey™, which captures the underlying motivations and future intentions that influence travelers' behavior. According to the survey, the outlook for 2020 is promising with American international travelers intending to take 2.2 international vacations in the next 12 months, and most notably, 37% wanting to travel more this year than last.


The Portrait of American International Travelers Survey™ profiled 2,026 affluent American travelers with an annual household income of over $100,000, who have current passports, who are qualified to have traveled outside of North America in the past two years and intend to travel outside of North America in the next two years. It's a group that feels their identity is closely intertwined with travel, with 64% reporting they believe the destinations they visit say a lot about who they are.

Among the many insights revealed in the survey were key travel motivators:

  • The top motives for travel were to experience different cultures (92%), exploration and adventure (89%), and a hunger to experience new cuisines (83%).

  • 87% of respondents said they prefer to focus on making memories over acquiring more things

"The results are extremely encouraging for both our membership, as well as the travel industry as a whole," added Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA. "Not only are American travelers not slowing down, but cultural curiosity and exploration are driving them to travel deeper and connect more personally to the destinations they visit."

Additional findings include:

  • Group tours are most popular with affluent Millennials, with 69% reporting they are likely to vacation as part of a multi-day organized group tour in the next two years and 57% saying they vacationed on a multi-day, organized group tour in the last 12 months.

  • Affluent Millennials are the most likely demographic to have used a travel agent to book a vacation, with 59% saying they had used a travel agent to book an international vacation in the last 12 months.

  • Europe remains the top destination American international travelers want to visit by an overwhelming majority (72%). However, 41% of travelers agreed that they avoid visiting popular destinations, opening the door to more off-the-beaten-path vacations.

  • Social media's influence is growing. The number of respondents who said they follow a destination on social media rose from 29% to 38% between 2018 and 2019.

For the full Portrait of American International Travelers™ report, or for a customized, detailed destination prospect profile, contact MMGY Global at [email protected].

About USTOA:

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages, and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry's highest standards, including participation in the USTOA's Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business. As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents. For more information, visit

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About MMGY Global

With more than 38 years of experience, MMGY Global is the world's leading integrated global marketing firm specializing in the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries. With nine operating brands across the world, the award-winning organization maintains a global communications practice in all marketing channels, serving many of the world's premier travel and tourism brands. As a company dedicated to the global travel industry, MMGY Global strives to create a connected, inclusive and peaceful world by promoting travel as a cultural bridge of understanding. For more information, visit

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