Majority of Americans Plan to Take a Vacation in 2011

Americans are more confident that they’ll be able to vacation this year compared to previous years, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of Mondial Assistance USA.

For the first time in three years, a majority (51 percent) of Americans say they’re confident (36 percent very confident and 15 percent somewhat confident) that they will take a vacation in 2011, defined as leisure travel of at least a week to a destination at least 100 miles from their home. This proportion is up 13 percent from last year, Mondial says. Mondial is a leading global travel and specialty insurance company best known in the U.S. for its Access America brand of travel insurane.

Furthermore, one in ten (9 percent) Americans say they’ve already taken a vacation this year (down 2 points). Just four in ten (39 percent) are not confident (25 percent not at all confident and 14 percent not very confident) that they’ll take a vacation, which is down 4 points from last year.

“These results are a good sign for the industry,” said Peter Wiesinger, Chief Marketing Officer at Mondial Assistance USA. “Even as uncertainties remain, a majority of Americans feel like they can take a vacation this year and some of the pent-up demand for travel is now working its way through the system.”

There still remains a vacation deficit in America, although it is shrinking. The vacation deficit can be measured by gauging the proportion of Americans who say a vacation is important to them but aren’t confident they’ll get one in 2011. Among those who say an annual vacation is important to them, one quarter (24 percent) are not confident that they’ll get one this year, down from 28 percent in 2010.

The results of the survey reveal that those aged 35 to 54 are most likely (56 percent) to be confident that they’ll take a vacation, while younger (51 percent) and older (45 percent) Americans are less likely to feel this way. Not surprisingly, confidence correlates strongly with one’s income: those whose household income is in excess of $75,000 a year are most confident (69 percent), while those who earn between $25K and $75K a year (53 percent) or less than $25,000 (34 percent) are significantly less confident that they’ll get away this year.

Regionally speaking, those in the south (55 percent) are most likely to be confident that they’ll hit the road this year, followed by Americans living in the west (51 percent), northeast (51 percent) and Midwest (46 percent).

While last year’s survey reported that Americans were becoming increasingly deprived of leisure travel, the good news this year is that more Americans are embracing travel. While one half (51 percent) of Americans say they haven’t traveled in at least a year, this proportion is down 5 points over last year. In fact, two in ten (19 percent) have traveled within the last three months.

Ironically, despite the fact that more Americans report having traveled, and with more Americans saying they’re confident they’ll travel this year, fewer Americans (57 percent) report that an annual vacation is important (28 percent very important and 29 percent important) to them, down 6 points since last year and 10 points in two years. Still, a strong majority of Americans indicate that it is important.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted June 3-6, 2011. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,001 randomly-selected adults residing in the U.S. interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled.

The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Mondial Assistance, part of the Allianz group of companies, is a global leader in specialty insurance and emergency assistance services. In the United States, Mondial Assistance is a brand name of World Access Service Corp., which is best known for its Access America brand of travel insurance and assistance services.

The U.S. operation, one of 28 business units, serves major travel suppliers, health insurers, credit card, and entertainment companies with insurance products, international travel assistance, and concierge services.


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