Travel Leaders Survey Shows Mixed Readiness for Cuba

Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben
Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben

Preliminary results from Travel Leaders' new "2015 Consumer Travel Survey" show some Americans are ready to travel to Cuba, while others are taking a "wait and see" approach.

8.8 percent of those polled said they would go to Cuba immediately when all restrictions are lifted and only 14.9 percent stated they would go when they believed Cuba was ready for American tourists. 

Additional findings in this year’s survey include the top international “bucket list” destination for Americans is Australia; and more than 93 percent of survey participants have taken or will take a leisure trip in 2015. The survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from April 3 to April 30, 2015, and includes responses from 3,371 consumers throughout the United States.
“Cuba has frequently been in the headlines as U.S. relations normalize. Our survey demonstrates there are definitely intrepid travelers who can’t wait to experience Cuba as it is today, before commercialization and modernization change it dramatically,” said Barry Liben, CEO of Travel Leaders Group. “For now, over 35 percent of those polled seem to be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. In some respects, that’s understandable. Travelers have cultivated their dream wish lists for years and, for most, Cuba wasn’t a legal option until very recently.”
“Take Australia for example. Every other year, since 2009, we’ve surveyed consumers on their ‘dream international destination’ and Australia has always been on top,” said Liben. “From its cosmopolitan cities and rugged outback to its wine country and amazing coastal regions, including the Great Barrier Reef, there is a phenomenal amount to see and do in Australia – and language really isn’t a barrier for Americans.”
Liben said, “Whether 2015 is the year Americans tackle their bucket list, we do know that 85.2 percent indicated they will spend the same or more on leisure travel this year. That’s a very good indicator of economic confidence. Add to that the relative strength of the U.S. dollar and we have been advising travelers that if they have the time and means, this is the year to visit Europe.”
The initial survey findings are:


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Cuba Travel

The number of Americans interested in travel to Cuba if all U.S. Government restrictions are lifted has increased slightly over 2014. Conversely, the number who indicated they have no interest in traveling to Cuba has decreased substantially since last year. 

Australia Tops International Bucket List

When asked “What is your ultimate dream international destination?” the top response was Australia.  This question has been asked in 2015, 2013, 2011 and 2009; in each year Australia was the number one response.

Value of the Dollar

When asked, “The value of the U.S. dollar compared to major currencies around the world, including the euro, is very strong. Has the strength of the Dollar, enticed you to plan an international trip for this year?” U.S. consumers responded:

Additional Statistics and Findings: Leisure Travel is a Priority

- Over 93 percent of those polled say they “have or will take” at least one leisure trip this year.
- Nearly 92 percent indicate that the total number of leisure trips they anticipate taking in 2015 will be either the same or more than last year (36.1 percent say “more” while 55.4 percent say “the same.”) .
- Also, 85.2 percent of those polled state they will spend the same or more on leisure trips this year versus 2014 (41.4% will spend “more” and 43.8% will spend “the same” on their leisure trips as compared to last year).
- Land or Cruise: When asked whether participants’ leisure trips were land-based, cruise-only or a combination of both, the results (compared to previous years) show:

- Traveling Away from Home: With so many survey participants indicating they will take at least one leisure trip in 2015, it was also important to find out how far they are traveling from home. Selecting all options that apply to their leisure trip(s) this year, the top responses were:

- Rental Cars and Taxes: Of those polled, 47.3 percent indicated they have or will be renting a car during a leisure trip. When asked about the amount of taxes (local, county and state) on the overall cost of their rental car, 42.9 percent said there were “extremely” or “very frustrated” by how high taxes are on rental cars, while 30.2 percent stated they were either “somewhat” or “slightly” frustrated.