When the US sneezes Americans still travel

Given the current global downturn there’s not an economics professor in the land who wouldn’t deny that when the United States sneezes the rest of the world still catches a cold. Yet despite Uncle Sam’s flagging economy, Americans aren’t letting their weak dollar prevent them from travelling, according to a new study from Visa. Americans last year spent a record US$11bn travelling abroad says the report, with US$2.92bn spent in Canada alone. UK is the top long-haul destination at No.3 whilst China is the highest emerging destination.

The Top 10 destinations for Americans is:
1. Canada $2.92bn

2. Mexico $1.76bn

3. UK $1.43bn

4. Italy $1.1bn

5. France $975bn

6. Germany $837bn

7. Puerto Rico $741bn

8. Australia $435m

9. Spain $431m

10. China $414m

The survey, which polled U.S. payment cardholders who had travelled outside the U.S. in the past three years, found that 63% of respondents are equally or more willing to travel compared with one year ago. And half said they are likely to take a trip abroad in the next 12 months. For those travellers, Canada and Mexico are their most likely destinations outside the 50 states.

Despite the downturn, Americans are maintaining their love affair with travel: 74% who said they are not travelling internationally in the next year are still keen to travel overseas in the future.

“Americans love to travel; it’s hard to keep them at home,” said Vicente Echeveste, Global Travel and Tourism Lead at Visa Inc. “Even though Americans aren’t going as far this year, the fact that they continue to exhibit a strong willingness to travel overseas reinforces international tourism as a strong driver of global economic growth.”


Those who are not likely to travel internationally this year cited cost of travel (54%) and the current state of the economy (49%) as deterrents. However, Americans are not confining themselves to backyard barbecues and block parties - they are planning trips within the 50 states to satisfy their wanderlust. In fact, one of the top three reasons respondents gave for not travelling overseas was that they were planning to travel in the U.S. this year (49 percent).