Rural tourism appeals to many travelers: 62% of all U. S. adults took a trip to a small town or village in the U. S. in the past three years, according to a travel poll by the U. S. Travel Association (USTA, www. ustravel. org). This translates to 86.8 million U. S. adults. A majority of these trips (86%) are for leisure purposes, and the most popular reason overall for traveling to a small town or rural area is to visit friends or relatives (44%). Baby Boomer travelers are more likely than younger or older travelers to visit small towns or villages for reasons other than visiting friends and relatives. More than half (55%) of travelers to rural locales travel with their spouse; 33% travel with children. Six percent (6%) of rural travelers go with their parents; 17% travel with other family members. Some travel with friends (11%) or as part of a group tour (3%). Another 11% travel alone (The 2011-2012 Travel & Tourism Market Research Handbook, 2011).
The following are trip activities on most recent trips to a small town or village, ranked by percentage of travelers engaging in each activity: Dining: 70%, Shopping: 58%, Beach/lake/river: 44% Historical sites: 41%, Fishing/hunting/boating: 32%, Festival/fair: 29%, Bike-riding/hiking: 24%, Religious service: 23%, Camping: 21%, Sporting event: 18%, Winery/working farm/orchard: 15%, Gambling/gaming: 12%, Visiting, Native-America community: 11% THE 2011-2012 (The 2011-2012 Travel & Tourism Market Research Handbook, 2011).