A tour, activity, and visiting an attraction is the third largest and fastest-growing category of travel, and one of the main reasons people take trips in the first place, according to Arival, that advances the business of creating in-destination experiences through events, insights, and community. It’s central to the trip decision, and an economic driver around the globe, adds Arival.

There’s long been a lack of research on this sector, as most travel industry studies focus on transportation and accommodation. Arival is changing that by developing research and insights on what happens when travelers arrive at their destination. Its report, Why We Tour: Inside the Mind of the Modern Tour Taker, delves deeply into the mind of this traveler, looking at who they are, what they want, how they find and book, and more.

Findings include the fact that 47% of all U.S. travelers took some type of guided day tour on their last trip. Guided ones are more popular among travelers ages 18-34 than travelers ages 55+ Three in five travelers ages 18-34 joined a guided group on their last trip; only two in five travelers over the age of 35 did the same thing.

Sightseeing tours are the most popular taken by all age groups; however, they are not as popular among travelers under 35 as they are with travelers over 35. One in three travelers under the age of 35 has taken a culinary excursion. Travelers under 35 are more likely to take culinary, cultural, and market tours than older travelers.

The schedule is a top reason travelers chose a specific tour, followed by the ability to see famous, bucket-list-type sites. Price is also a significant factor.

What’s the optimal group? Seventy-five percent of tour takers took those that contained 10 or fewer people. Almost no travelers surveyed actively seek those that are larger than 10 people. Sixty-seven percent take those that are less than three hours long.

Booking channels reveal that nearly half of travelers plan and book a tour within one or two days of taking it. Sixty percent of travelers plan and book within a week of taking it. Half of all tour takers plan and book after they have arrived at their destination.

Click here to access the full report and for any further questions, email Jenna Blumenfeld, Arival managing editor, jenna@arival.travel. For more information on popular tours, click here and here.