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Americans seek more novelty in vacations.

What do American families want in a vacation? How are they spending their time once they unpack? According to the Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown/Yankelovich Partners National Leisure Travel Monitor poll, seven in 10 pleasure travelers wish to see a place they never have visited before.

Consumer interest in novelty and change is at the highest level we've observed in five years," notes Dennis Marzella, senior vice president of research and strategic marketing at Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown. "Not only do consumers want new experiences. but they intend to have more fun along the way."

The top 10 cities or resort areas that consumers are interested in visiting are the Florida Keys, Orlando Fla.), Lake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.), New Orleans, San Francisco, Colorado Mountain resorts, San Diego, Las Vegas, St. Petersburg/Clearwater (Fla.), and New York City. Europe, followed distantly by Australia, Canada, and the Caribbean, are top picks among international destinations.

What do vacationers want to do? There is considerable interest in experimentation and fantasy. Six in 10 pleasure travelers would like to take a cruise during the next two years. About half cite naturalistic experiences -- e.g., hiking, climbing, beaches, lakes, snow skiing, and adventure/outfitter trips. Four in 10 express interest in visiting a remote, untouched destination, while a similar number find going to a theme park extremely/very desirable.

"This pattern suggests a rising opportunity to market 'real fantasy' in all forms of travel experiences," Marzella suggests. "In particular, look for expanded consumer interest in cruising, [gambling] vacations, exciting ecotourism concepts, soft adventure travel, and growing interest in visiting theme parks."

For instance, at Outdoor Adventure River Specialists MA in Angels Camp, Calif., marketing director Eric Grathwol explains, "We don't try to compete directly against Yosemite or Disneyland for a vacationer's time.

Our family friendly programs put a different spin on the traditional family vacation by introducing a new set of stimuli. These programs allow families to enjoy the togetherness aspect of the trip and they also create opportunities for children and parents to spend time pursuing their separate interests."

Marriott's Bay Point Resort Village, Panama City Beach, Fla., focuses on bringing novelty to the traditional vacation. In addition to golf, fishing, and tennis, it offers dolphin-watching packages in the "only destination outside of Australia where dolphins are encountered so abundantly," according to general manager John Irvin.

While parents look for traditional destinations that offer new experiences, they apparently are listening closely to their children. Fifty-two percent admitted that their offspring were influential in the selection of a destination.
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Title Annotation:trend toward fantasy-based leisure activity
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 1, 1998
Words:422
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