Personal enrichment more than mere indulgence is playing a bigger role in vacation planning, a travel industry survey shows.
Almost all the 800 travelers surveyed by the Harris Organization for Travel & Leisure Magazine said natural beauty was "very important" in choosing a vacation spot."Visiting somewhere new" and "creating a personal itinerary" came next, among 89 percent of those surveyed, followed by local cultural and historical attractions. Interest in night life, luxury resorts and shopping dropped significantly over the past five years.
"Although vacationers still want to indulge themselves, the emerging '90s traveler appears to be putting more emphasis on enrichment rather than pure escapism," said Alexandra Golinkin, publisher of Travel & Leisure.
The 801 respondents were asked 80 lifestyle questions to determine whether they possessed an '80s or '90s sensibility, said Bob Wein-traub, a spokesman for Travel & Leisure.
Based on their responses, some 101 frequent travelers were dubbed " '80s-style and 109 described as " '90s-style" vacationers, with the rest falling some-where in the middle.
The '80s style travelers said during a vacation they preferred to "do whatever I want, spend money freely and brag about the vacation."
But Weintraub said the more personally enriching vacation activities were selected by more respondents overall.
Golinkin said the new survey, compared with a similar one conducted in 1989, indicated Americans are looking for greater vacation value.
Travelers spent an average $2,626 last year on travel, compared with $2,865 in 1989.
The survey also found that the automobile was becoming more popular for vacation travel for 64 percent of those surveyed.