'Tis the season to do surveys in the travel industry field

January 24, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

This is the season of surveys, and in the travel field they seem to cover everything from AAAutos to ZZZsleep:

*The emerging '90s traveler is putting more emphasis oenrichment than on pure escapism, according to a survey conducted by Louis Harris and Associates for Travel & Leisure magazine. More than 80 percent of frequent leisure travelers surveyed rated cultural and historical treasures and places with natural beauty much higher than night life, luxury resorts and shopping. Here's a breakdown of what respondents most often listed as important:

Location with natural beauty, 96 percent; visiting a place where they've never been, 89 percent; creating own itinerary, 89 percent; experiencing cultural, historical or archaeological treasures, 83 percent; going off the beaten path, 73 percent; able to take great pictures, 73 percent; examining a different culture, 69 percent.

Less often listed as important: Good shopping, 59 percent; famous cities, 59 percent; good night life, 51 percent; luxury resorts, 39 percent; great golf courses, 24 percent.

*Seasoned travelers ages 35 and older take more vacationsspend more money and are the fastest growing segment of the leisure-travel industry, a survey by Readers Digest Travel Network shows.

This group spent $35 billion on leisure travel last year -- about 40 percent of the total spent in the U.S., although it represents only 8 percent, or about 14 million, of American adults who travel.

*Florida tops the list of preferred destinations for winter pleasurtrips by nearly 69 million adults -- that's 46 percent of the 150 million U.S. travelers -- according to the Travel Industry vTC Association's Travelometer, a quarterly survey of travel plans. California ranked next, with Hawaii third at 35 percent.

Other favorite destinations: Colorado, 13 percent; Nevada, 11 percent; Texas, 10 percent; New York state, 7 percent; Washington state, 6 percent; Louisiana, 5 percent. Despite Hurricane Andrew, 95 percent of those heading to Florida did not cancel or postpone their trips.

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