Travel Trends 2002: Identifying US Vacations For Summer - My Family Travels

Trends Report, June 2002. Find out what the trends were for family travelers in summer 2002, when post-9/11 fears ruled the marketplace.

When we polled Family Travel Forum families in April of 2001, we queried travelers about their favorite family resort and learned that family travel was thriving. Of parents responding, 91% had traveled to a North American destination within the past three years; 83% of them with children; 32% to Florida. Another 19% had taken the kids to the Caribbean, Central or South America.
Favorite Florida resorts included Disney World; the Hyatt Grand Cypress, Marriott Royal Palms and Radisson Resort Parkway in Orlando; and Sanibel Island, which the Becker family noted was a "great location and beautiful area with lots of family things to do." 

Then 9/11 happened and the world, and travel, have changed.  Now everyone's trying to figure out what you — the consumer — is planning to do this summer. We think our kids and all of yours must have listened to Eminem, who's topped the charts singing, "Feels so empty without me." Kids don't want to be left home alone, so they've just demanded to join the family's travels.

According to the 2002 American Express Leisure Travel Index, 54% of Americans polled said they will travel at least as much this year as last, with another 25% saying they would actually travel more. (Note that  58% of those polled say they are traveling to spend quality time with family!)

The Travel Industry Association of America also forecast an increase (2%) in travel this summer, with a strong focus on "back-to-basics" vacations.  For TIA respondents, family and outdoors trips are leading the trend in 2002. The TIA survey also asked travelers about their priorities in planning summer travel destinations:
73% cited security
63% affordability
53% family-friendliness
41% driving distance.

An online survey done by InsightExpress in May, 2002 produced contradictory results, with 40% of those surveyed saying they would forego a vacation due to work, the economy or personal finances. 

If almost half of their respondents are traveling less, who's traveling more?

According to a June 2002 Forrester Technographics Research report, the 10% of consumers who spend $5000 or more annually on travel (nicknamed "Big Spenders") average two trips per year more than other travelers.

Who are they and where are they going? Sounds like "family travelers" to us, because vacation packages, cruises, and all-inclusive resorts are three times more popular with this group than with other travelers.

At a June press conference hosted by the Flight Plan for America campaign, an ASTA spokesperson confirmed, "Family is the new mantra for the travel business."

What's the 411?

ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and the Flight Plan staff are dedicated to making your travels easier; feel free call them at 866/289-9673 (Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm EST; fax 202/267-5091) with questions about current air travel regulations.

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