May 13, 2009:
This are very interesting forecasts and food for thought:
According to the annual summer travel forecast by the U.S. Travel Association (the April 2009 travelhorizons™ survey by the U.S. Travel Association and Ypartnership) Americans are expected to take 322 million domestic leisure person-trips during June, July and August 2009.
This is very small decline, 2.2% compared to summer 2008, considering.
The survey shows that an estimated 54% of American households are planning to take at least one leisure trip this summer, compared to 50% last year.
Plus, 51% of them expect to spend the same amount on their summer vacations this year!
Plus, Americans plan to take more day trips or long weekend getaways in lieu of week-long vacations. According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Price Index, "the cost of lodging and airfares is down by 6.8 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, through the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008".
It is noteworthy that while gas prices were the primary deterrent to travel last summer, hitting an all time high of $4.11 for a gallon of unleaded regular, gas prices should be less of an issue this summer as they are expected to hover just over $2 per gallon.
The bad news:
The expected 9% decline in international travel to the United States for full-year 2009. Since international travelers tend to spend more money, averaging $4,500 per trip to the U.S., "increasing travel to the United States is the most efficient form of economic stimulus" according to the May 13 press release of the US Travel Association.
The association notes that US Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and John Ensign (R-NV) introduced on May 12 the “Travel Promotion Act of 2009” (S. 1023) and a similar bill is expected to be introduced soon in the House of Representatives. According to the US Travel Association, this legislation can stimulate U.S. economic growth, create thousands of new American jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue for communities across the country.
(Previously the Travel Industry Association, the U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $740 billion travel industry. www.ustravel.org.)