Travel Outlook Bright for Holidays and Beyond, ASTA Says

Wooden blocks switching from 2019 to 2020
Photo by Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock

Travel advisors and consumers are optimistic heading into the holiday season and 2020, according to the American Society of Travel Advisor’s (ASTA) latest How America Travels study. According to the survey, which polled 2,050 U.S. adults, 47 percent of respondents plan to take a trip during the upcoming holiday season, rising to 74 percent of those who plan to use an advisor. 

Looking ahead, 50 percent of travel advisors think that their business is going to be better next year than it is this year despite recession jitters. 

For consumers, anticipated spend is up 10 percent over the last 12 months, rising to $6,772 per traveler for 2020. Men are more optimistic than women, with 50 percent of men predicting the economy will be better 12 months from now, as compared to 31 percent of women. Men also plan to spend more and take more trips—$2,377 in average spend and 2.6 trips for men versus $1,542 and 2.0 trips for women. 

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Consumers who use a travel advisor anticipate spending more on their next trip than those who don’t, at $4,015 versus $1,687. International travel is likely a major factor here: Those who use a travel advisor are more likely to take a trip overseas (31 percent) than those who don’t (8 percent); plus, travel advisor users anticipate taking more trips (3.6 versus 2.5) than those who don’t. 

Consumers who use a travel advisor are also more likely to be:

  • In the Northeast (25 percent versus 15 percent)
  • Male (63 percent versus 47 percent)
  • Younger (average age of 39 versus 45)
  • Millennials (45 percent versus 29 percent)
  • Married (56 percent versus 49 percent)
  • Households with children (57 percent versus 34 percent)
  • Latinx/Hispanic (21 percent versus 15 percent)
  • Wealthier (average income $99,000 versus $81,000)

Breaking the results down by demographic, Millennials plan to take more trips than any other generation (2.7), followed closely by Gen Xers (2.5). Gen X travelers, on the other hand, lead the way in spending, with an average spend of $2,780, followed by Baby Boomers ($2,158) and Millennials ($1,816). 

The report also pointed to the continued strength of domestic travel versus international trips. More travelers expect to take trips in the United States in the coming 12 months than did so in the past 12 months (79 percent versus 75 percent). At the same time, fewer travelers plan to take trips outside the U.S. (17 percent versus 23 percent). 

The report also examined the top 2020 destinations by region:

Caribbean & Central or South America

  • Bahamas – 49 percent
  • Puerto Rico – 29 percent
  • Costa Rica – 28 percent


  • Japan – 54 percent
  • China – 42 percent
  • Thailand – 36 percent


  • United Kingdom – 49 percent
  • Italy – 47 percent
  • France – 45 percent

Finally, the top concerns when it comes to taking personal trips among all respondents were personal safety (52 percent); not having enough money (52 percent); crime (49 percent); terrorism (46 percent); and severe weather and natural disasters (46 percent). 

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