A year after world travel abruptly shut down due to the pandemic, American Express is releasing its latest research on grounded travelers’ sentiments about getting back on the road. In the most basic terms: they can’t wait. The American Express Travel: Global Travel Trends Report compiled in seven major markets including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and India found that 76% of respondents are actively creating wish lists of where they want to go when they can and 87% are using that as motivation, giving them something to look forward to.
Where do they want to go? For many, prime destinations are cities with active culinary reputations since culinary travel, on the upswing in recent years, shows no signs of abating. 62% of respondents list eating as their major focus on the next trip. For U.S. travelers, Miami (which, apart from its own dining scene, is currently the site of an influx of major New York restaurants opening outposts such as Carbone, Cote, and Red Rooster;) San Francisco; Chicago, and Houston are the main draws. International travelers are planning trips to Singapore, Mexico City, and Tokyo.
privacy, a key component in the social distanced traveling that did occur in 2020, is also not going away as an important element in travel plans. 75% responded that ultimate privacy is vital in luxury travel plans along with personalized experiences and high cleanliness standards. The good news for travel agents is that 59% indicated that they would use a travel organizer to arrange and customize their next trip instead of doing it themselves. 80% also indicated that they’re willing to go to destinations off-season when they’re less crowded and 69% expressed interest in going to lesser-known destinations or second cities instead of a country’s more famous ones. As Dino Michael, Senior Vice President and Global Category Head of Hilton Luxury Brands explains, “Privacy, exclusivity, and wellness have been pushed to the forefront as consumers look for more intimate, impactful, and purposeful travel. Luxury travel continues to blur the lines between the desire for privacy and experiential opportunities.”