February 06, 2012 10:57 ET

ALTOUR Index Reveals Tourists Looking to Travel Smarter, Not Less

Travelers Change Priorities and Patterns but Are Traveling More Than Ever

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 6, 2012) - Leisure travel is off to a good start in 2012, with travelers going abroad at a far greater rate than they were only three months ago. This according to the January ALTOUR Index: the luxury travel expert's bi-monthly survey of hundreds of their leisure agents. Overall levels of travel have increased, but tourists post-recession continue to look for the best deals, leading to a spike in "all-inclusive" land destinations. Additionally traveler's concerns about political instability have dropped significantly, while personal security concerns remain constant.

In the November ALTOUR Index, respondents indicated that 30% of travelers were traveling more than average, but in January ALTOUR agents indicated that a full 51% were traveling at a higher than average rate. This is an encouraging start to the New Year, and travel agents are both excited and hopeful by the bump. Cincinnati based ALTOUR agent Roy Benecchi has noticed clients bundling corporate and leisure travel more than before, while also being more willing to spend a little more for the expert travel advice of ALTOUR: "For the first time in a few years, I have seen companies take their employees and spouses on trips... I think travelers value our expertise and are more focused on having a great trip than saving a few dollars by booking through an unknown source."

2011 was a year of political instability worldwide, from the Arab Spring to occupy movements worldwide, but the early days of 2012 have seen travelers grow used to uncertainty. While at the end of last year, "political instability" tracked as the number one concern of travelers, it fell 14% in the latest survey. In fact, political instability has been overtaken by "personal safety" as travelers' number one apprehension. These concerns have not affected business however. Instead clients look to ALTOUR experts to provide alternatives, and provide additional research before traveling, says LA based ALTOUR agent Bahar Schmidt, "Mexico is not being booked at all, instead they feel it is safer to travel to Hawaii. As well as my clients who want to visit Asia, will have me do research on the safety of the country they are visiting."

In this regard travelers seem to be traveling smarter, not less. This can also be reflected in all-inclusive travel numbers seeing a significant bump. 31% of ALTOUR agents called demand for all-inclusive resorts high: a 10% increase over last year's figures. Again, this can be attributed to traveling smarter according to veteran Philadelphia-based ALTOUR agent Bob Jones, "People like 'all-inclusives' now more than ever. They like knowing exactly what a trip will cost and not being surprised by any extras."

As the world continues to change, travelers, armed with cutting-edge technology and the latest information about travel trends, have adapted to the shift, and trends for 2012 look very strong.

ALTOUR is one of the world's leading independent travel and services organizations with a workforce of over 1,200 professionals in sixty-eight offices on three continents. With a $1.2 billion turnover in 2010, ALTOUR is recognized as an international industry leader providing essential travel and service solutions the world over. The company's core remains its renowned business travel management capabilities, though ALTOUR has divisions dedicated to such diverse fields as leisure travel, performance improvement, sports travel, entertainment travel, as well as meetings and events services. ALTOUR's principal divisions are complemented by flexible sister companies providing private air charter services and limousine services. ALTOUR is ranked 12th on Travel Weekly's 2011 "Power List" of the best travel agencies in the United States, and is ranked as the 33rd best agency in the UK by Buying Business Travel. The Los Angeles Business Journal ranks ALTOUR as one of the top three travel agencies in Los Angeles County, and also recognizes the company as one of the "Best Places to Work in Los Angeles" for 2011. ALTOUR has also been named to the "CMI 25" as one of Corporate Meetings & Incentives' best in the industry. For more information please visit