Recession Continues to Impact Travel


ORLANDO, Fla. — The recession may be over, but the U.S. tourism industry is still suffering.

The numbers speak for themselves as 56 per cent of American adults expect to take at least one trip for leisure purposes during the next six months, a seven-point decline from last year.

On the other hand, business travel continues its slow recovery with some 15 per cent of adults planning at least one business trip during the next six months, up from 13 per cent recorded one year earlier. Both projections come from the closely watched Travelhorizons survey co-authored by Ypartnership and the U.S. Travel Association.

Of the estimated 127-million U.S. active travellers, 50 per cent expect to spend the same amount of money on leisure travel services as they did last year. Twenty-four per cent expect to “spend more” on those trips and 26 per cent plan to “spend less” — numbers that don’t bode well for the foodservice and hospitality industry.

But, there’s good news, too. “Although we have yet to turn the corner, we are seeing signs of recovery this year with growth projected in both leisure and business travel volume,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Although leisure travellers will continue to watch their spending and look for the best deals possible, it appears the decline we have observed in demand for travel services over the past 18 months may have finally abated.”

According to the report, the most significant change was in the “perceived safety of travel,” declining from 93.8 in October 2009 to 84.8 in February 2010. This is presumably due to lingering concerns about the “Christmas Bomber” incident that occurred in Detroit at Christmas.

Despite that news, it’s time to move full-speed ahead. “Although the industry would obviously be more encouraged by a significant uptick in the index, this is a still a wonderful time for consumers to succumb to their natural sense of wanderlust as suppliers read the tea leaves and start rolling out attractive incentives to travel this summer, particularly for leisure,” said Peter Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnership.


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