America’s traditional blue-chip AAA’s Leisure Travel Index shows that more American’s will be hitting the road this holiday season, but a deeper look into more 21st century mashup travel metrics point to an even bigger year for international travelers in 2012.
The World’s Greatest Travelers 2012 Aggregate Travel Metrics, as selected in expert focus groups and online survey data at the WorldsGreatestTravelers.com website, reveal that optimistic travel trends are looking up with international travel high on the list of travelers in 2012 as there is a tremendous amount of pent up leisure travel demand.
Here are the top seven global travel-related metrics uncovered in the survey that indicate positive global travel trends:
1. Call it the International Peace Index that shows the world ripe to visit. Despite the Arab Spring, the world is becoming a safer and safer place to travel with actual acts of terrorism continually declining, along with fewer and fewer failed states, with the number of ongoing high-intensity military conflicts also reducing. In fact, despite the media’s Mean World Syndrome, the US State Department issued only 31 “travel warnings” in 2011 and of the 193 UN members, less than seven are currently iffy travel destinations.
2. The key Travelers Misery Index is in decline. Known informally among frequent travelers as the home-grown American Airport Hassle Factor, reveals that travelers are learning to better handle both domestic airline dishonesty and service inefficiencies, as well as the TSA ever shifting security standards. In fact, long tarmac delays are down (except for JFK!), airport body scanners are now an accepted norm, and the TSA is actually lightening up a little making domestic travel easier for all. Interestingly enough, foreign travel has never been better with international air carriers increasing customer amenities and services (the introduction of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A-380) as prices fall!
3. Known as the Photo Album Index, combined with significant increases in digital camera sales, more and more tourists are traveling the globe. Led by an mobile invasion of middle class Chinese, Indian and Brazilian travelers—and thus more travel snap shots taken. In fact, contrary to popular belief, more Americans than ever before have valid passports today—there are 109,780,364 valid US passports—a record!
4. The Travel Show TV Ratings Index points out that travelers are imitating cultural trends again. Ratings for CBS’s travel reality show The Amazing Race continue to be high, as are Anthony Bourdain’s twin Travel Channel shows No Reservations and The Layover. Similar to how TV’s Love Boat and Fantasy Island led to a travelers boom in the 1980’s, these shows are driving adventurous travelers to new and exciting places. Sadly however, ABC’s nostalgic looking drama Pan Am may not be so lucky!
5. The Adventurous Travel Index is growing and expanding, with Gen Y’s, Gen Xers and young-at-heart Baby Boomers, wanting to experience more than the traditional cruises and sleep-on-the-beach vacation clichés. Savvy travelers want a mind, body and soul mix of authentic experiences, like the one offered with the annual around the world travel adventure The Global Scavenger Hunt, that combine in a singular event them seeing bucket lists items with real cultural immersion, great food and hands-on sight-doing experiences.
6. tripadvisor’s 2012 trend-spotting Trip Index, reveals that globetrotters are looking for “affordably exotic enclaves” and ready to visit places that offer the biggest travel bang for the buck, like: China, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Dubai and Portugal. They also report that sixty-eight percent of Americans plan to travel outside the U.S. in 2012!
7. The Travel Apps Index is sky-rocketing. With the merging of iPads, smart phones and social media, travel apps—there are an estimated 17,000 travel apps—allow travelers to have a more seamless and real-time experience in booking flights and hotels, looking at maps when they are lost, reading fellow travelers reviews and insights, helping as instant translators, and of course, as hand-held guidebooks.