Travel activities and motivations survey — U.S. Travel Market

Wildlife Viewing While on Trips of One or More Nights

Full report available in pdf format

A Profile Report — April 25, 2007
Executive summary

Over the last two years, 26.9% (59,539,747) of adult Americans went wildlife viewing while on an out-of-town, overnight trip of one or more nights. Visiting nature parks (20.4%) and viewing land animals (10.9%) were the most popular wildlife viewing activities, followed by viewing wildflowers and other flora (6.9%), watching whales and other marine life (6.3%), birdwatching (5.4%) and viewing the northern lights (1.7%). 37.5% of Wildlife Viewers (22,302,786) reported that this activity was the main reason for taking at least one trip in the past two years.

The demographic profile of Wildlife Viewers parallels the American middle-class (25 to 64 years of age, married, above-average levels of household income and education). They are slightly more likely than the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler to have children under 18 living at home. They are over-represented in Alaska and the Mountain, Pacific, East North Central and West North Central regions of the U.S.

Wildlife Viewers were more likely than the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler to have taken a trip to Canada in the past two years (21.3% versus 14.6%). The most common destinations were Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. However, they are over-represented among U.S. Pleasure Travelers to almost all Canadian destinations, and especially the Western provinces and Canadian territories.

Wildlife Viewers prefer vacation experiences that allow them to enjoy nature and provide intellectual stimulation and educational opportunities. They were more likely than the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler to go hiking, climbing and paddling, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. They were also much more likely to have visited garden theme attractions, archaeological digs and aboriginal cultural experiences and to have taken part in participatory historical activities. During the past two years, Wildlife Viewers tended to stay at public campgrounds and seaside resorts, and they were much more likely than the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler to have stayed at a wilderness lodge or outpost and to have taken a wilderness tour.

Wildlife Viewers frequently use the Internet to obtain travel information (78.2%) and to book travel (56.9%). They are also more likely than the average U.S. Pleasure Traveler to consult official provincial or state travel information sources when planning a trip. This segment can be targeted effectively through travel-related media channels and media with a nature theme (e.g., science and nature television, science and geography magazines) or a domestic theme (e.g., home and garden magazines and television programs).