MMGY Global Portrait of American Travelers Survey 2019-2020

An increasing number of Americans want to spend their vacation time immersing themselves in a different culture, according to a new survey from MMGY Global.

A majority (53 percent) of the 2,301 U.S. adults who took part in the agency’s latest travelhorizons survey said that learning about new cultures and gaining perspective on new ways of life was important to them. Even more (58 percent) thought it was vital to learn about the culture of the destination that they visit.

There is also a desire for that learning to be up close and personal, with 53 percent of respondents saying they want to explore the new culture for themselves, and 48 percent noting that they’d like to spend time with local people from their travel destination.

Many of those surveyed said that making a deeper connection with the culture and people in their vacation spots has a positive effect. Nearly four in ten (36 percent) said that visiting a foreign country and meeting its residents changed their attitudes, with 50 percent saying they felt a great affection for the people, and 39 percent finding that the culture of their travel destination shared many social values with their own culture.

But there are limits to how immersed in new culture travelers want to get. When choosing a vacation destination, three-quarters (75 percent) of respondents emphasized the importance of feeling welcomed, and 65 percent prefer to go to a place that feels familiar and makes them comfortable.