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How the Rich Are Traveling in 2013

SAN DIEGO ( MainStreet) -- Meet the wealthy U.S. travelers of 2013:

They have household incomes of more than $250,000 a year.

Their top international travel interests or world dream destinations are Western Europe and Hawaii, followed by the Caribbean and Canada.

They're returning to the use of traditional travel agents to book travel, instead of reliance on Internet-based travel sites.

Oh, and they are more determined than ever not to overpay for their travel experience.

"They are tougher customers now," says Peter Yesawich, vice chairman of MMGY Global, a travel and hospitality marketing company. "In 2005 or 2006, they didn't mind overpaying. Now they still want a five-star experience, but they don't want a five-star price. It's a different psychology, more demanding."

These and other data points are part of a recent report from MMGY, Portrait of American Travelers, which provides comprehensive insights into the emerging travel habits, preferences and intentions of wealthy and affluent U.S. travelers.

(Among the 2,500 households making up the survey participants, about 800 have a household income of more than $125,000 annually and are categorized as "affluent." Approximately 400 of the participants have a minimum household income of $250,000 and are referred to as the "wealthy" travelers by Yesawich. The average income of those surveyed was about $400,000, says Yesawich.)

With its more recent presentation to a gathering of luxury travel advisers and suppliers at a conference in Miami, the report is in its 23rd year of being produced.

"The horizon line is very bright. Affluents are the leading the charge in terms of recovery of the travel business," says Yesawich, giving the overall message of this year's report. "Demand for luxury experiences is up dramatically, and I don't see anything that suggests we would see a reversal of this trend."

"The appetite for travel has grown dramatically in the aftermath of recession," Yesawich adds. "A couple of years ago they were restrained in their behavior."

About 65% of the wealthy travelers surveyed said they intend to travel the same amount this year as in 2012, while about 19% intend to travel more.
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