That the American market has become one of the most active of 2023 is now clear to the entire tourism world: in these post-pandemic years, where everything is still in a phase of troubled evolution, one of the few certainties is that Americans have a great desire to travel. Perhaps tourism sociologists will be able to better explain where this sense of revival that pushes Americans to desire to travel so much comes from, but in the meantime, we know that the first months of 2023 have been characterized by this strong push for tourism from the US market.
We talk about “strong push” because the numbers speak for us: think that from April 1st to June 20th, 2023, Americans have made an impressive number of searches for air flights, i.e. more than 62.8 million. This is a really significant number in tourism terms because it shows how strong the desire to travel is among US tourists.
In addition, it is a very encouraging figure that makes us move away from the shadows of the “Covid period” and gives us hope for a new era of tourism. Indeed, US demand has grown quite a lot compared to last year, when during the same period the searches made were 52.7 million, about 19% less.
The data come from international flight metasearch engines, which allow us to have a complete perspective on the international market, on the travel characteristics of users, and an accurate prediction of future demand.
And so, where do Americans want to travel?
American tourists have made their choices, unaware of the fact that they have contributed to redesign the world’s tourist map: yes because even if each of us thinks we have not changed that much, the events of recent years have changed our perception as travelers. This is why today the choices of a population can have such a big impact on the map of the Top destinations in the world; especially when we talk about a population of a certain volume.
First (predictable) change: Americans travel much more abroad. But by how much? Last year, considering the same analysis period, more than 56% of searches made by Americans were for domestic trips, i.e. within the United States itself. Americans, also due to geographical distance reasons, are very prone to travel within their country by plane. That’s why it’s significant that this year, the share of domestic travel has dropped to 44%; while the share of travel outside the US soil has increased.
Top Destinations: Certainties and New Entries
Increasingly more Americans are going abroad and to more exotic destinations: the years of the pandemic and the evolution of the tourist offer have indeed conditioned the perception of traveling abroad. The range of options on where to go has widened, some destinations have climbed the rankings and travelers’ preferences have significantly changed.
In this great change, however, traditional holiday destinations remain strong: Mexico remains firmly in first place as the most desired destination by foreign tourists, one of the geographically most convenient destinations to reach and that fully meets the type of US demand. Completing the podium are the United Kingdom, India; two countries that have always tended to stay at the top of American travelers’ hearts.
However, it is very interesting to note the so-called new entries, i.e., destinations that compared to last year have improved their ranking. For example, this year Americans made a good 1.6 million searches for Canada, which moved from ninth place last year to fifth place. Improvement is also noted for countries like Brazil, Greece, and Portugal, although in this case, the protagonists are Eastern destinations. Japan and China, in fact, have registered the best performance and have climbed the rankings in travelers’ wishes. In 2022, Japan was only 21st in the ranking of the most desired destinations; in 2023 it even rises to the Top 10, placing ninth. A great growth that, if confirmed, would open the doors to a large tourism market. An even greater growth is recorded for China: if in 2022 Americans marked China as the 38th place among the destinations to visit, this year it has risen to the 12th place.
These are not only positive but precious information for tourism operators: the American tourist market is significantly recovering in 2023, certainly with a strong push towards international travel; but above all, for American tourists, new markets are opening up and the way to experience tourism is changing.
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