Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Wed May 04 2016

Olympics, Copa America Drive Tremendous Travel Demand in 2016

Features & Advice | Gabe Zaldivar | May 04, 2016

Olympics, Copa America Drive Tremendous Travel Demand in 2016

Photo via Flickr

The driving force behind travel is as diverse as the people who board airplanes throughout the year. However, marquee events that pepper the calendar certainly have a dramatic effect on the industry.

Travel marketing platform Sojern Wednesday released its Q1 Global Travel Insights report, which compiled and measured travel tendencies over the first few months of the year and extrapolated how that might affect the industry in the near future.

As you will see in the above link, there is a heavy emphasis on those entertainment options we all would love to cross off our bucket lists.

While countless travelers book holidays to relieve stress, enjoy exotic cuisines or simply see a new city, many others are drawn by the bright lights, booming sound and raucous atmosphere of some seriously sensational events.

The report highlights events like the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Lollapalooza taking place in Chicago and Copa America’s historic visit to the United States.

Obviously, popular events are helpful for tourism. But the numbers are astounding. For example, Sojern found that the Super Bowl helped draw 1.2 million people to San Francisco International while, on February 6, hotel occupancy rested at a remarkable 90.7 percent.

The summer is filled with similar events that will boast a boon for the area.

Copa America

As Sojern states, soccer is a huge draw for fans across the world. Copa America means big business for the likes of Seattle, San Francisco and Orlando – where the games will be played.

The report actually records a 54 percent increase in “travel intent” daily once the draws were announced.

Stephen Taylor,  Sojern, SVP Enterprise Solutions, offered some thoughts on the findings: “Overall the outlook for summer travel in 2016 is strong. Both Copa America and the games in Rio have some interesting implications for travel this summer. Copa America will take place for the first time ever in the U.S in its 100-year history, which is noteworthy. Based on Sojern travel data, Boston is home to the most enthusiastic soccer fans showing the most interest in intent to travel.”

Of course, the biggest event of the year is that little sporting celebration they like to hold every four years.

Summer Olympics

As far as entertainment is concerned, there is hardly a bigger draw for travel or for television audiences than the Olympics.

This time around it’s Rio de Janeiro’s turn to play host. Obviously, there are political and health concerns to note, but those don’t seem to have a tremendous hold on travel intent.

Taylor continues on the upcoming Summer Games: “With the Olympics in Brazil approaching, the U.S. shows the biggest increase in travel intent to Rio during the Olympics among countries worldwide. Sojern data also shows that 34 percent of U.S. travelers are looking to spend 8 to 11 days at the Olympics, indicating that Americans are going big and staying for most of the length of the 16 day event before heading home.”

Sojern also measured travel intent during the Olympic period across various countries. Japan’s contingent has scoured the Internet with interest to the tune of a 716 percent uptick. The U.S. isn’t far behind with a 577 percent increase.

There remains a very real concern revolving around the Zika virus as well as the general state of Brazil’s metropolis.

However, something like the Olympics only comes around once every four years. For many, it marks a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Americans aren’t exactly quick to pass it up.

What’s more remarkable is the effect you tourists are having on the locals.

Taylor offers, “Surprisingly, Brazilian Rio residents are looking to leave during the events to the top destinations of Lisbon, New York City, and Orlando.”


Sometimes we forget that travel isn’t necessarily sparked with the need to get away. Many times, it’s precisely to reach a destination for a specific event.

As noted, 32 million people will see at least one music festival in this country every year. And 2016’s complement will again feature The Governors Ball, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands.

Each will entice music lovers from all parts of the globe. Whether it be concerts or sporting events, Sojern’s report proves we just can’t resist a good time.

Sojern also offers this graphic, which serves a snapshot to those 2016 watershed moments such as Euro Cup and the Summer Olympics.

Image courtesy Sojern


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