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Lancaster ties for top spot in Faith Travel Survey

Courtesy Pennsylvania Dutch CVBLancaster, Penn., the destination for the 2013 Going On Faith Conference, tied Pigeon Forge, Tenn., as the most popular location for faith-based group leaders. The Going On Faith Conference is coming to this favorite area September 4-6, 2013.

America’s church group travel leaders are a busy lot — a new Going On Faith survey finds that church group leaders are active in planning mission trips, international tours, retreats and other travel for a variety of demographics in their churches.

At the 2012 Going On Faith Conference in Rock Hill, South Carolina, church group travel leaders from around the country were asked to fill out a survey describing their travel groups, common types of trips and the destinations that they frequent. The results paint an interesting picture of the modern church group travel industry.

Experienced Leaders

The survey showed that the typical Going On Faith conference attendee is an experienced group travel leader who actively plans numerous trips for a large group of people.

Many of the conference’s attendees have been involved in leading trips for well over than a decade: When asked how long they have been planning travel, the average response was 15 years. In that time, church travel leaders have built sizable groups. The survey found that each planner represents a group of around 184 members.

Those groups travel frequently. Churches in attendance at the conference averaged eight day trips each year and five overnight trips. Each of those trips included an average of 38 travelers.

Although churches represent the most diverse groups in the tourism industry, mature travelers remained the most active demographic among survey respondents. Ninety-seven percent of church group leaders reported planning trips for travelers ages 65 and older. But baby boomers have become a more important part of the mix, too, as 63 percent of leaders plan trips for boomer groups.

On the other end of the spectrum were youth and young-adult groups. Sixteen percent of respondents said they plan trips for their churches’ youth groups, and only 13 percent plan travel for groups of young adults.