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Travel budgets set to increase: Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2013

  • United States ranks as top destination for global travellers
  • Saudis top the global spenders’ list

Visa_Logo_for_releaseDubai, April 28, 2013 – Visa’s latest Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 has revealed that global cross-border tourism is thriving and travellers intend to increase budgets for their next trip by an average of five per cent – with some holidaymakers even suggesting that they would more than double what they spent on their previous trip.

Visa’s regular barometer of travel trends indicates budgets are no longer among the top three reasons behind why travellers choose their next holiday destination. The pull of attractions, scenery and rich culture are instead stronger reasons for travel.

According to the study, which surveyed 12,631 travellers from 25 countries, the average global travel budget of US$2,390 per trip is set to increase to US$2,501. Top spenders abroad are the Saudi Arabians, spending an average of US$6,666 per trip, while Australian (US$4,118) and Chinese travellers (US$3,824) were not far behind. Future travel budget increases are especially high amongst Asian markets with a predicted increase of 46 per cent – travellers from Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong all plan to at least double the budget of their last trip in the future.

Ross Jackson, Head of Cross-Border in Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa, commented on the findings, “Global economic woes have been well-documented over the past few years but our Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 hints at a change in both the financial landscape and consumer mindset, suggesting either economic recovery or a growing appetite for larger travel budgets. Both provide excellent news for everyone involved in the global travel and tourism industry.”

“Understanding these changes is key for facilitating collaboration, encouraging informed engagement, and promoting growth across the travel industry. We have been running the Travel Intentions study since 2006 as our contribution to increasing the collective level of information the industry can use to make intelligent decisions to benefit the traveler and the industry at large. Visa is committed to using the results to identify changes and developments to better understand the travel and tourism environment.”

United States remains the top choice destination 

Attractions, Scenery, and Culture were cited as the key drivers for a future trip regardless of destination. This desire to explore new horizons was evidenced by the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, which revealed that international tourist arrivals grew by four per cent in 2012 to reach 1.035 billion[1].

Visa’s Study revealed the United States ranked as the most popular destination choice for global travellers, both for trips taken in the past two years (17 per cent) and for intended travel in 2013 (10 per cent).

Other top destinations in 2011 and 2012 included the United Kingdom (12 per cent), France (12 per cent) and China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong (all 10 per cent). Looking ahead, regional travel is set to increase with Egypt, Turkey and France emerging on the latest list of most preferred destinations for future travel for residents in Middle East & Africa.

The Rise of the Middle East

The increasing popularity of the Middle East & Africa is partially driven from within the region. Among travellers across the four global regions (APAC; the Americas; Middle East and Africa; Europe), respondents from the Middle East & Africa indicated strong intention (76 per cent) to travel more in the future – primarily residents from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. Much of this increased travel is expected to take place within the region and Asia where 24 per cent of travellers in the region having chosen to take trips in the last two years.[2]

Travellers from the Middle East and Africa are spending an average of US$218 per day during their trip – slightly lower than the global average of US$239[3] per day.

Increasing Ease of Travel

An increasing ease and availability of travel options is fuelling the tourism boom. This is particularly prominent in the airline industry where 85 per cent of travellers prefer to fly to their destinations despite a preference for shorter distances[4]. Of this figure, most (71 per cent) chose to fly economy class while, perhaps surprisingly, only 16 per cent chose budget airlines.

A Profile of Today’s Global Traveler

The results of the Study paint a picture of today’s global traveller. They are seasoned travellers, with 79 per cent travelling in the past two years, taking 1-2 trips per year. About 80 per cent plan their holidays in advance, taking an average of 10 weeks to organize the trip. Spending time with family and friends was cited as the most popular (38 per cent) reason for a holiday. These trips are more likely to be organized independently (42 per cent) and will last an average of 10 nights. They choose hotels of four stars and above (39 per cent) with 69 per cent choosing to take a trip with family members.


[1] International tourism to continue robust growth in 2013, UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, 28 January 2013

[2] The three most popular destinations were Egypt, Turkey and France

[3] Europe: US$176, The Americas: US$256, Africa & the Middle East: US$218

[4] 59 per cent of travel within the past two years was short haul trips of  four hours or less

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