Created: May 15, 2024 07:59 AM

An all-time high of nearly 16 million Americans travelled internationally in Q1 2024

A new report from the Mastercard Economics Institute says that across the Caribbean the travel recovery is advancing, and countries with relatively more affordable hotel options are performing exceptionally well.

The report, Travel Trends 2024: Breaking Boundaries, said that consumer spending on travel is up, with significant increases in passenger traffic.

It said: “At an international level, there’s been a notable increase in the time spent on vacation, climbing from 4.5 days in 2020 to 5.5 days in 2024.

“In the Caribbean, for instance, time spent in Barbados rose from an average of 7.8 to 8.5 days, respectively. The increase is due to key factors, including affordability and climate.”

Drawing on a unique analysis of aggregated and anonymised transaction data, including Mastercard SpendingPulse™, and third-party data sources, the report takes a deep dive into key travel trends globally for the year and beyond, including:

• Record travelling: an all-time high of 15.9 million Americans travelled internationally in Q1 2024

• Leisure for longer: tourists are extending vacations by a day on average, influenced by affordable destinations and warmer climates

• Experience economy on the go: consumers now prioritise experiences over material goods while travelling, representing 12 per cent of tourism sales — the highest point in at least five years

• Cruising full steam ahead: cruise travel is surpassing pre-pandemic demand levels, driven by affordability compared to hotels. The Bahamas have welcomed an additional 2.9 million passengers arriving by sea compared to 2019

• Top 10 trending destinations: Japan leads in tourist activity, while Munich tops the list for summer tourism. Albania ranks third for a European country at a lower cost

The Top 10 trending destinations for June through August 2024 for American travellers include four popular spots in the Caribbean region: Oranjestad, Aruba (second), Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (fifth), San Juan, Puerto Rico (sixth), and Santiago, Dominican Republic (tenth).

Globally, Oranjestad, Aruba, ranks as the tenth top trending destination from June to August 2024. For Latin Americans, Punta Cana is this summer’s eighth top trending destination.

Michelle Meyer, chief economist, and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute stated: “The resilience and adaptability of the travel sector paired with persistent consumer demand will mean a thriving 2024 for tourism. Just like at home, travellers are prioritising experiences over goods while abroad.

“Yet, today’s travellers are discerning, choosing destinations that offer both value and authenticity. They are savvy enough to stretch their funds and extend their stays, immersing themselves fully in the wonders of each locale.”

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