News & Views

New Tourism Research Studies Impacting 2020 Destination Marketing Decisions

A number of recent tourism research studies are set to impact destination marketing decisions throughout the coming year. Emerging survey results and other critical findings will prove tremendously impactful in the way that destination organizations and local groups work to attract visitors and strengthen their local economies.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most notable information to be found in seven significant tourism research studies. Regardless of your location or current tourism climate, you’re sure to find critical statistics, compelling results, and meaningful guidance from these resources.

General Traveler Behavior

Skift, 2019 Annual Survey of Affluent Travelers

This is Skift’s third iteration of its Annual Survey of Affluent Travelers which takes a deep-dive into the behavior of this valuable traveler segment. These include:

  • Trip incidence
  • Attitudinal and behavioral data
  • Accommodation preferences
  • Differences between those with and without children under eighteen in the family

In an age when destination stewardship is necessitating an increase in price of certain experiences in order to protect them for future generations, understanding what affluent travelers value has never been more important.

Travel Pulse, Millennials and Gen Z Don’t Regret Travel Debt

Debt is undoubtedly a hot topic right now– but it turns out that younger generations are willing to trade some financial freedom for the ability to travel. This is especially critical when you consider that these individuals will be well-poised to travel for years to come; they’re healthy, active, and showing a consistent interest in travel and tourism.


  • Half of respondents went into debt for summer travel
  • Over half of those who went into debt said they’d do it again to travel this summer
  • Millennials are consistently unwilling to delay vacations for financial reasons

Poor in cash flow, rich in spirit seems to be the mantra of future generations.

Phocuswright, Destination Selection Trends Among U.S. Travelers

The average U.S. traveler is spending more time thinking about their next than you might think! It turns out that travel is rarely far from respondents’ minds; in fact, a quarter of them indicated that they actively research new travel opportunities at least once a month. This means that marketers and tourism professionals should be consistently working to capture travelers’ attention.


  • 2/3s of respondents knew where they were going long ahead of time
  • More than half of respondents selected a destination they’d visited frequently
  • 25% of U.S. travelers visiting somewhere new did so for the purpose of cultural enrichment

This is great news for travel PR pros who are tasked with ensuring they can deliver messages at all points in time, when tourism advertising budgets wane.

OpenJaw – Canadian Travel to U.S. Heading for Slump

It turns out Canadians interest in vacationing to the U.S. may be waning given the political climate and America’s policies both at home and abroad. In 2013, the U.S. received more 23 million Canadian visitors; that statistic is predicted to drop to a mere 14.9 million visitors in 2022. Numerous factors have influenced and will continue to influence the decline, and travel marketing pros have their work cut out for them when it comes to enticing the Canadian market.


  • The number of Canadian visitors to the U.S. is decreasing at a compound annual rate of change of -4.8%
  • Increasingly affordable flights to Mexico are posing problems
  • External political factors play a major role

Those U.S. destinations who are creative and consistent are likely to win market share from other destinations who turn a blind eye to the Canadian traveler.

Social Media and Digital Marketing

Tourism Currents – Tourism Survey Results 2019: Social Media and Digital Destination Marketing

Social media and marketing (and social media marketing!) are integral to success within the tourism industry today. This survey was meant to act as a benchmark for tourism professionals on where they stand amongst their peers and which social media and marketing platforms best lend themselves to use within the industry.


  • Almost half of respondents were solely responsible for their organization’s marketing
  • 98% of respondents leveraged Facebook, 81% leveraged email and Instagram
  • Industry experts want increased time and funding to focus on visual platforms

Meetings, Events and the Workforce

Skift + IHG, The Sustainable Future of Meetings and Events

Skift and IHG partnered to produce a report on the way that meetings and events shape travel and tourism. This piece delves into just some of the tactics that venues and planners rely on to capture and maintain consumer interest.


  • The work travel industry is valued at $120 billion per year in the U.S. alone
  • Planning events in the name of sustainability helps the environment and creates more “human” events
  • Shifting the idea of a meeting or conference from an obligation to an experience

U.S. Travel Association – Made in America: Travels Contribution to Workforce Development and Career Advancement

This report by the U.S. Travel Association dives deep into how jobs within the travel industry promotes work-life flexibility, offers an entry into the workforce and helps build long-term prosperity.


  • Americans whose first job was in travel earn more than those who started off in most other industries
  • The travel industry is amongst the top ten largest employers of middle-class Americans

At DCI, we offer tourism research services designed to procure critical insight and produce customized studies that help guide future marketing strategies. Our team has worked tirelessly to develop longstanding relationships with tour operators, travel agents, airlines, and digital influencers in order to make the process of researching and influencing consumer travel easier.

If you’re looking to increase business inquiries and visitors or determine opportunities for improvement, get in touch with us today. A knowledgeable member of our staff will be eager to speak with you and begin laying down the paving stones for a pathway to success.

Written By

Robyn Domber

Robyn is DCI’s Vice President of Research. In this role, she spearheads all of the firm’s primary and secondary research efforts, including surveys, focus groups, data analysis and result compilation. She joined DCI with 15 years of experience in the site selection and economic development consulting field.

More Articles by Robyn Domber

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