ST. LOUIS, Feb. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Annual visitation to the U.S. began to decline in 2015 – and has yet to stop. Concurrently, Americans are traveling less frequently and are returning to attractions less and less – often in search of something new and welcoming. The results of PGAV’s fourth-annual Voice of the Visitor: Outlook on the Attractions Industry, which tracks Americans’ travel behavior and forecasts future plans, revealed a dramatic shift in the demographics of attraction visitors, and a deep desire to visit places that make them feel welcome and relaxed.

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In the first ever report of its kind, Welcome! 2019 Profile of International Visitors to America, revealed how travelers from Canada, Mexico, China, the United Kingdom, and Japan plan their trips to America, where they want to visit and what motivates them to do so, and why many have considered a visit to the States – but are holding off until later. 68% of panelists had visited the United States before; but with the exception of Canada, the other four countries have more than a third of their population that has never visited the USA, but are strongly considering it.

Over 85% of international guests noted their key priority when visiting America is finding a safe and welcoming place that has a variety of activities and attractions, visiting more than two towns on average with each visit.

«Over the last several years, from the US Council of Mayors to the American Alliance of Museums to the Southeast Tourism Society and beyond, we’ve heard impassioned requests for insights into what international visitors think and what they’re doing when they enter The Melting Pot; and to date, we couldn’t find a precedent,» said PGAV Principal and Chair, Mike Konzen. «These visitors represent an immense contribution to our economy and share of the tourism industry – and in turn represent America when they return home through their stories and photographs – and it’s imperative we strive to better understand – and welcome – these guests.» 

Top Five Motivators for International Travelers

  1. 42%: Shopping
  2. 27%: Theme Parks
  3. 18%: Historic Landmarks
  4. 10%: Museums
  5. 10%: Sightseeing Tours

Top 10 Places Likely to Inspire a Visit to America

  1. 36%: Walt Disney World
  2. 26%: Disneyland
  3. 24%: The Grand Canyon
  4. 21%: Statue of Liberty
  5. 21%: New York City
  6. 20%: Niagara Falls
  7. 19%: Las Vegas
  8. 19%: Universal Studios
  9. 16%: Hollywood
  10. 14%: The Northern Lights

America is on track to become «minority white» by 2045, with our Hispanic population projected to make up a quarter of the population, Blacks at 13%, Asians at 8%, and Multi-racial families at 3.8%. However, compared to the current racial majority, these groups are eight percentage points less likely to travel for leisure, seven percentage points less satisfied with their last attraction experience, eleven percentage points less likely to recommend that attraction to friends or family, and are five percentage points less likely to travel in 2019.

When Americans travel, trends suggest that they are seeking more peaceful time with friends and family to relax. Compared to five years ago, Americans note that they are «relaxing and chilling out» 27% more, playing video games 10% less, spending time outdoors 16% more, and hanging out with friends 5% less.

With more options for entertainment, consumers’ tolerance for bad service and low-fidelity experiences continues to decline, fueling dissatisfaction with the staff and offerings at many attractions. If these numbers and feedback are any indication, the attractions industry is due for a significant brand overhaul.

Top 10 Attraction Types Visited in 2018

  1. 38%: Historic Landmarks
  2. 33%: Zoos/Animal Attractions
  3. 30%: Theaters
  4. 30%: Theme Parks
  5. 28%: History Museums
  6. 27%: National/State Parks
  7. 24%: Aquariums
  8. 22%: Family Entertainment Centers
  9. 21%: Art Museums
  10. 21%: Sightseeing Tours

Top Five Most Important Factors for American Tourists

  1. 79%: It’s a good value for the money
  2. 78%: It’s a clean place to visit
  3. 71%: It has friendly staff members
  4. 70%: It provides a safe and wholesome environment
  5. 69%: It’s a diverse experience with a lot of different things to see and do

«I was amazed how accurately PGAV’s Voice of the Visitor was able to forecast the upcoming trends of our visitor behavior,» says Beth Hill, President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga. «The report is my go-to resource to aid in my annual planning, helping to better anticipate guests’ interests and needs, and crafting life-changing experiences that help inspire a passion for the Nation’s history.»

More information on Welcome! and Voice of the Visitor is available at For dozens of additional, free tourism studies by PGAV Destinations, visit


Conducted by H2R Market Research, Voice of the Visitor interviewed 1,500 American respondents who either visited an attraction in 2018 or plan to do so in 2019, providing a margin of error of +/-2.5% at a 95% confidence interval. Welcome! surveyed 985 travelers who have visited America, are considering visiting America, or who live in America, providing a margin of error of +/-3.6% at a confidence interval of 95%.

About PGAV Destinations
PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now entering its sixth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning. 

PGAV Destinations’ key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the Saint Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s «must see» destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Space Shuttle Atlantis, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks.

About H2R Market Research
Your customers are talking. Instead of just sharing their experience with friends over coffee, H2R brings their voice to the conference table. When you’re asking, «Where should we expand? Did our ad generate more revenue than it cost? Why are customers choosing our competitor?» H2R reveals the answers.

Our clients make decisions based on insight from rigorous research and the expertise other market research firms envy. And that helps shareholders, owners, and employees all breathe a sigh of relief. We’ve partnered with some amazing companies. Some large, some small. Some local, some national, and some international. So whether your company fits into a category or not, you’ll fit with us.


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SOURCE PGAV Destinations