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Survey: positive outlook on 2015 travel plans

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Given the luxury travel industry’s stellar performance over the last few years, it shouldn’t be any surprise that predictions for 2015 are rosy as well.

Still, it’s nice to see data that backs up those expectations.

According to the latest survey from the American Affluence Research Center, travel continues to be the strongest of all 17 categories in which the wealthy were asked about their intent to spend next year.

The center’s latest poll of affluent households shows that 85% are planning to spend the same or more for domestic vacation travel as in 2014, and 77% are planning to spend the same or more for international vacation travel.

That’s the best outlook for international vacation travel since 2007, Director Ron Kurtz said. And the domestic travel outlook is as good as it has been in recent years.

Intentions to cruise, however, were down slightly from the last two surveys, with 13% saying they expected to sail. However, 8% were still undecided.

In spring 2014, 17% of respondents said they intended to cruise; it was 16% in the fall of 2013. The record high was 22% in fall 2007. The record low was 11% in spring 2013.

The good news for cruise lines is that intention to cruise was highest among the wealthiest 1%, or those with a net worth of $6 million or more.

When asked to rate travel as a priority for spending discretionary time and money, the average score was three on a five-point scale. Thirty-seven percent gave travel a priority of four or five, while about six in 10 of respondents in the $6 million-plus net worth group gave travel a score of four or five.

Among the top activities mentioned: returning to a favorite destination and traveling with adult children and grandchildren.

The American Affluence Research Center surveys a sample of the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households, according to the latest Federal Reserve Board research, and has a general margin of error of plus or minus 5%. The 359 participants whose responses were included in the latest survey have an average annual household income of $284,000, an average primary residence value of $1.2 million, average net worth of $3.1 million and average investable assets of $1.6 million.

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