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Leisure travel in US to go up in the summer of 2007

22 May, 2007

The travel industry in the United States is predicted to have a gainful season of summer travel in 2007.

During the period, leisure travel is expected to rise by 1.4% over last summer, according to the latest forecast from the Travel Industry Association (TIA).

The Travel Industry Association is the United States’ national, non-profit organisation representing all components of the $703-billion travel industry.

Americans have been forecast to take nearly 330 million person-trips in June, July and August 2007 – a record high number. A person-trip is one person traveling 50-plus miles, one-way, away from home.

Business and convention travel too will remain – increasing by about 3% in the summer of 2007.

Underlying the travel industry’s optimism are relatively good economic fundamentals, says Dr Suzanne Cook, senior vice-president of Research for the Travel Industry Association. Higher gasoline prices are having some effect on consumer spending power, but continued positive spending patterns mean that the summer travel season will be typical of what has been witnessed in the past.

A number of studies show that the majority of consumers expect that gas prices will continue to rise this summer, but they seem to be taking it much more in their stride than in the past. High gas prices have not yet affected driving habits.

However, higher prices, both for gas and other components of travel, will force some Americans to modify their summer travel plans. Gas at around $3.00 a gallon will encourage a small number of Americans (11%) to make modest changes in their normal summer travel patterns.

The tipping point seems to be $3.50 a gallon of gas, with nearly one-third of those interviewed by the study saying that they would cancel their trip if the national average reached that point.

In the summer of 2007, air travel is expected to be stronger than auto travel – rising by about 3% in the June-August season. Auto travel, however, will continue to account for about 8 in 10 summer leisure trips.

In all, 80% of those planning leisure trips will be visiting friends and relatives, and nearly as many are looking to go sightseeing.

Other top activities would include going to the beach, visiting a national park, visiting a mountain area, visiting a state park, visiting a city, going to all-inclusive resorts, and taking a cruise or visiting a theme park.

The study showed that about 40% of Americans express interest in activities focused on historic/heritage or on dining/culinary or wine-related activities. Nearly as many want to take trips focused on arts/cultural activities, spas or gambling. Golf trips would be the attraction for 14%.




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