Cities come out on top in 2023 in terms of the number of trips Americans have planned.
Historically, beach destinations always garnered the most excitement among American travelers, with cities coming in at a close second. However, the pandemic upended the travel landscape, and by summer of 2020 half of Americans said they would be avoiding visiting crowded destinations and 22% said they would actively avoid cities and urban areas in the six-month period after COVID is resolved. Fast forward to the start of 2023 and cities are now back on top in terms of leisure trip volume expectation. When asked how many leisure trips to specific destination types Americans anticipate taking in the next 12 months, the highest number on average was to cities/metro areas (1.7). followed by small towns (1.4) and beach destinations (1.3). In addition, cities have taken back their number two spot in terms of travelers’ excitement to visit (39% of Americans rated their excitement to visit cities as an 8 or higher on a 10-point scale) and over a quarter (26%) of travelers say they will prioritize visiting large cities in the next 12 months.
One thing to give pause, however, is that a notable number of Americans predict our cities will continue to struggle with crime and safety issues, despite the renewed tourism interest. One-in-five of all travelers also feel that American cities will become more dangerous and unmanageable places to visit this year (20%)—a feeling more commonly shared by Baby Boomers (24%), higher income brackets (HHI $200k+ – 23% and HHI $100k-$199k – 23%), those residing in rural areas (22%) and persons who have (or travel with someone who has) a disability (24%). This may damper this urban momentum, so Destination Analysts will continue track and keep you updated on how this progresses, including the implications it may have for the broader travel landscape.