Americans' Leisure Travel Intentions Trend Slightly Upward
Continued Decline in Business Meetings and Events Industry's Greatest Concern
travelhorizons survey shows
"We are very encouraged that more people are signaling a willingness to travel for leisure purposes," said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnership. "This is the first increase we have observed in the Index since January 2008, which indicates that the discounts travel providers and destinations are offering are working to attract more travelers, even in this down economy. As it turns out, this is actually a terrific time to travel because some of these great deals are sure to disappear once the industry begins to recover."
The outlook on the business travel side remains one of concern to the industry, however. According to the U.S. Travel Association, business travel is now projected to decline as much as 5.6 percent in 2009 (the original forecast at the end of 2008 was a 3.5 percent decline). The sagging economy, coupled with political demonization of business meetings, events, and incentive travel, has resulted in a significant decline in demand for business travel services.
"While this increase in short-term leisure travel intentions is positive, the overall decline in meetings, events, and incentive travel threatens to erode any net gains for the total travel economy," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "One of every eight jobs in the United States is linked to travel and tourism, and business travel alone accounts for 2.4 million American jobs. With the federal government projecting that the travel industry will lose nearly 450,000 jobs in 2008-2009, it is critical that policymakers work with us to encourage businesses to engage in legitimate meetings and events. We need businesses and consumers back on the road and in the air to help turn this economy around.
About the Index & Survey: The Traveler Sentiment Index(TM) is a derivative of six variables measured in a quarterly survey: interest in travel; availability of time to travel; availability of money to travel; perceived affordability of travel; quality of travel services; and safety. All six measures increased from levels observed in October 2008, the most recent survey flight. Four measures displayed double digit increases: interest in travel (+10.3 percent); availability of time to travel (+12 percent); quality of travel services (+14.1 percent); and perceived affordability of travel (+97.2 percent).
travelhorizons(TM) is a quarterly survey of Americans' travel intentions viewed through the lens of emerging economic, social and political developments. The nationally-representative survey of 2,270 adults from which the Index is calculated was conducted February 7-13, 2009. The Index has been calculated each calendar quarter since March 2007, when it was pegged at 100. travelhorizons™ is co-authored by the U.S. Travel Association, formerly the Travel Industry Association, and Ypartnership.
The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $740 billion travel industry. U.S. Travel's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. U.S. Travel is proud to be a partner in travel with American Express. For more information, visit .
Ypartnership is a worldwide advertising and public relations agency that specializes in serving travel, leisure and entertainment-industry clients and is co-author of the widely acclaimed National Travel MONITOR(SM) with Yankelovich, Inc. For more information, visit .
Cathy Keefe Reynolds
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