The typically wonderful month of May has been sort of guides-info.org in the Northeast; however, the summer months are right around the corner and vacation time is beckoning most of us who enjoy travel. I have been awash in articles reading about places, globally, I would like to see and have never been, as well as reading about old favorites with a new perspective. My wanderlust for travel was triggered when my family moved to South America, and I have never been the same.
I happen to know people who have a great passion for international travel. I suppose it is true that we tend to be the company we keep. However, although my immediate circle still loves to get on a plane and explore other countries, I have been wondering about those who don’t. Someone who has done sales in the vacation industry informed me that Americans really do not like to travel internationally.
So, I set out to learn a little bit about this and discover for myself if most Americans cared for international travel or really preferred to stay within the territorial boundaries of the United States. It did not take much more than a cursory search to find screaming headlines about Americans not traveling abroad and information about how Americans really prefer to stay in this country.
William D. Chalmers wrote a book entitled “America’s Vacation Deficit Disorder”. He summarized in an article for The Huffington Post entitled “The Great American Passport Myth: Why Just 3.5% Of Us Travel Overseas!” the following:
- 42 percent of Americans hold a valid passport
- Approximately 9 percent of leisure travelers go overseas (i.e. not to Mexico or Canada)
- When Americans travel overseas they go to Europe (35 percent), the Caribbean (21 percent), Asia (19 percent) and South America (9 percent).
- The most popular countries are England (9 percent), France (7 percent), Italy (7 percent), Germany (5 percent), Dominican Republic (5 percent), Jamaica (5 percent), Japan (4 percent), China (4 percent), India (4 percent), Spain (4 percent), Bahamas (3 percent) and Costa Rica (3 percent).
- 6 percent of trips by Americans traveling overseas were to the Middle East, 3 percent to Africa and 2 percent to Australia/New Zealand
So, the obvious question is why such a low number of Americans travel overseas when there is so much to see, get to know and understand – particularly in this globalized world?
If you sit down and think about it, it probably is not very difficult to figure out some of the reasons, real or imagined, that have been posited for Americans not being interested in traveling overseas.