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News: WTM 2019: American travellers looking further afield for holiday ideas

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World Travel Market – London has seen a variety of fascinating sessions in the Americas Inspiration Zone, each designed to highlight the tourism trends shaping the region in the coming years.

One trend that was clearly observed is that US consumers are increasingly travelling outside North America as they become more adventurous – creating a huge potential market for destinations around the world.

During a session on ‘How America Travels’, delegates heard how 135 million US citizens now have passports, with 42 million taking an international trip outside North America in 2018, up from 37 million the previous year.

The figures were revealed by Zane Kerby, president and chief executive of the American Society of Travel Advisors, who added that another 50 million US travellers had also taken trips to either the US or Mexico last year.

Spending on international travel by US consumers has also risen from $86 billion in 2000 to $186 billion in 2018.

“The number of travellers leaving US shores – and not just going to Canada or Mexico – has gone up and up in the last 20 years,” added Kerby.

Europe remains the most popular non-North American destination for US residents, with 42.4 per cent of the market, although this is down from a market share of 50 per cent in 2000.

The Caribbean was the second most popular choice for Americans, thanks to “astonishing” growth in recent years, with 21 per cent of the market, followed by Asia with 14.9 per cent.

Kerby said US consumers looking for an international vacation were increasingly booking through travel advisors.

In the US, more than half of these advisors are now working from home, compared with 32 per cent who are based in retail locations.

This trend is forecast to continue in 2020, with an ASTA survey finding that US consumers expect to spend more money on international trips next year.