We know certain treats in moderation, such as dark chocolate or red wine, can be good for our health. But could travelling really make you healthier too?

The US Travel Association, the industry’s main lobbying group in the US, thinks so, and it’s willing to drop a few million dollars to prove it. On 16 January the group launched The Travel Effect, a multi-year, multimillion dollar research and marketing campaign to study and publicise the benefits of travel on an individual’s health – as well as the health of the community and the economy. With its science-supports-desire research, the industry is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the wine and high-end chocolate markets, which have successfully convinced consumers that some pleasurable experiences can be good for you.

“What we’ve long known anecdotally, we will now prove through authoritative research: travel has a positive effect on health, relationships, business performance and the well-being of communities,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, in a press statement.

Travel Effect’s first research project will examine the effect travel has on relationships; data and research will be released in February. Subsequent studies will study the impacts of business travel, as well as the effect of travel on private sector development, local communities and the US economy.

Over the coming years the campaign will work with academic institutions and such partners as the American Association of Retired Persons to conduct research on the beneficial effects of travel. In the process, Travel Effect hopes to change the way Americans view travel – and encourage them to do more of it.

So how is travel good for health – or the community or economy? Travel Effect’s new eye-catching website has a few ideas:

  • One-third of all leisure travellers say they have more sex while on vacation
  • Students who have travelled abroad are nearly twice as likely as their home-bound peers to complete a college degree and report earning higher incomes, out-earning their peers by more than 40%.
  • Workers who take time off are more productive, have higher morale and are less likely to mentally “check out” on the job. They also report less stress and burnout.
  • Each US household would pay $1,000 more in taxes without the revenue generated by travel and tourism
  • Travel is an economic powerhouse, supporting more than 14.4 million jobs in the US and contributing more than $124 billion in domestic tax revenues.

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