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Ron Kurtz - intentions to cruise are down slightly among the affluent, but 8% are undecided and could end up taking a cruise

Wealthiest Americans keen to travel but not as keen on cruising, study finds

With 85% of the affluent planning to spend the same or more for domestic vacation travel as in 2014 and 77% planning to spend the same or more for international vacation travel, the 2015 prospects for the travel industry are positive though there's some uncertainty about desire to cruise, according to the latest survey by the American Affluence Research Center.

This is the best outlook for international vacation travel since 2007, and the domestic travel outlook is as good as it has been in recent years, according to Ron Kurtz, president of the Atlanta-based AARC.

In contrast, intentions to cruise among the affluent, at 13% or about 3.2m cruisers, are down slightly from the prior two surveys. However, 8% of the affluent indicated they were undecided about taking a cruise, and many of these people could take a cruise, Kurtz said.

Intentions to cruise were highest among those older than 60 (17%) and the wealthiest 1% (26%), who have a net worth of $6m or more.

When asked to rate travel as a priority for spending discretionary time and money on a five-point scale (with 5 being 'my top priority'), the average score was 3, with no substantial differences among most of the demographic segments.

On average 37% gave travel a priority of 4 or 5, while about 6 in 10 of the $6m-plus net worth group gave travel a 4 or 5 score.

Among 13 vacation activities that might be planned for the next 12 months, the top three most frequently mentioned activities were return to a favorite destination (53%), use reward points to purchase or upgrade air, hotel or cruise reservations (52%), and travel with adult children and/or grandchildren (40%).

Other popular activities are renting a vacation home/condo (37%) or staying in similar accommodations that they own (32%). As an example of some of the differences among the various demographic segments, these two types of accommodations were mentioned more by the higher income and net worth groups.

The higher income and net worth groups named more activities in total. About one in 10 of all respondents said they were not planning any of the 13 activities.

This latest survey by the American Affluence Research Center is representative of the 12.2m households that have a minimum $924,000 net worth and are the wealthiest 10% of US households, according to the latest Federal Reserve Board research. The 359 participants whose responses were included in this survey have an average annual household income of $284,000, an average primary residence value of $1.2m, an average net worth of $3.1m and average investable assets of $1.6m.

 

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