Surveys: Do These Sound Right to You?
In addition to turkey drumsticks and too-early Christmas decorations, November also seems to be the season for travel surveys. So many "findings" have crossed my desk in the last few weeks, some insightful, some clearly self-serving, and some downright counterintuitive. Time for a little reality check. Do these stats sound right to you?
* Despite the uncertain economy, 75 percent of Americans plan to spend as much money on leisure travel in the coming year as they did in the last year (AAA). How about it, folks -- Have you had to cramp your travel style due to the economy, or does this finding ring true?
* Travelers are booking more upscale vacations this holiday season than in previous years, especially families -- more four- and five-star hotels, first- or business-class travel and luxury cruises than in years past (American Express Travel). This seems counterintuitive to what we've been hearing from readers. (But maybe we've only been hearing from the whiners?)
* Almost one-third of Americans will take two or more trips between Thanksgiving and New Year's (AAA again). I don't know about you, but this has always seemed like an excellent time to stay off the road to me.
* NYC is the most expensive city in the world to dine out in, with an average tab of $39.46 person. Least expensive cities: New Orleans ($26.18) and Austin ($25.30) (Zagat). No surprises here. But it is somewhat consoling to discover that U.S. restaurants cost roughly half what their peers do in cities like London, Paris and Tokyo.
* 54 percent of Americans have four or more weeks of vacation a year, and 47 percent believe they "need" six weeks or more. Yet only 64 percent of Americans used all their vacation time last year. When asked why, 28 percent said they can't afford to be away from work (TripAdvisor). Sadly, this one rings all too true to me.
TripAdvisor, btw, had some interesting "favorites" results from its survey of more than 2,500 travelers from around the world:
Top U.S. airline: American (second favorite: Southwest).
Least favorite airline: US Airways.
Favorite domestic airport: Las Vegas McCarran and Orlando International (tie).
Favorite airport in the world: Amsterdam's Schipol International.
Most popular U.S. state that worldwide travelers intend to visit in the next 12 months: Yep, it's Florida.
Least favorite airport in the world: London Heathrow and Chicago O'Hare.
And finally, my favorite part of TripAdvisor's survey, the annual "travelcast" of hot destinations. These are based on (it says here) a complex algorithm that looks at several criteria, including changes in earch activity and postings on the site. And according to their findings, the top three emerging world hotspots for travel are (drum roll)...
1. Jerba, Tunisia
2. Makandi Bay, Egypt
3. Phangnga, Thailand
Other cities on the list were Sabaudia, Italy; Asilah, Morocco; and Kotor, Montenegro. I don't know about you, but reading this kind of list just makes me want to get my passport out and get packing. Jerba, here I come!
By K.C. Summers |
November 19, 2007; 9:49 AM ET
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