Italy

Affluent travelers favor European destinations, according to a study. Italy (Venice shown here) tops the list. (Mary Forgione / Los Angeles Times)

The number of affluent travelers has risen in the last few years, and more of those travelers are women, according to a report by MMGY Global and the Harrison Group. And nine in 10 use the Internet to find travel suppliers and information.

Affluent travelers, defined as those with an annual household income of $250,000 or more, make up 6% of the leisure travel market, the 2013 Portrait of American Travelers report says. Women now make up the majority of those travelers at 54%, up from 42% in 2010.

On average, these upscale travelers took five vacations during the last 12 months and spent $9,765 on travel during that time period. The group also expects to spend more than $10,000 on vacations in the coming year.

Affluent travelers tend to be married, are older and use social media. And they're keeping up with the technology. "Significantly more affluent travelers have downloaded travel apps to their smartphones now (49%) than in 2010 (27%)," a statement about the study says. Airline websites, Expedia and TripAdvisor were the most popular travel websites used by this group of travelers.

So where are they going? Tony travelers say in the next two years they plan to visit:

Italy (45%)
France (41%)
England (39%)
Canada (38%)
Spain (33%)
Ireland (31%)
U.S. Virgin Islands (28%)
St. Maarten (28%)
New Zealand (28%)
Australia (27%)

The study conducted in February 2013 surveyed 2,511 leisure travelers at various income levels about their vacation habits over the prior 12 months.

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com
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