USTA Projects Summer Travel to Improve

The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and other organizations project that summer travel will improve over previous years. In their monthly forecast email, USTA stated that domestic leisure travel volume appears back on track for the 2010 summer season, with sustained modest growth of 2.3 percent expected over last summer. They anticipate slightly more frequent travel this summer (2.1 trips versus 1.9 trips last summer), with intended vacationers planning to stay away 6.7 nights on the average and 42% expecting to spend $1,000 or more on their longest trip (up from 37% last summer).

Other surveys and forecasts by the American Automobile Association, Deloitte, and USA Today/Gallup state optimism about 2010 summer travel.  A recent American Express survey found that while family trips will be most popular (52%), a variety of other vacation types are being planned, including: couples trips (26%), trips with friends such as “girlfriend getaways” and “mancations” (10%), experiential or adventure vacations such as a culinary retreat or hiking trip (7%) and educational vacations (4%).

Airline travel is expected to rise a scant 1 percent this summer, according to the Air Transport Association (ATA), with the growth in international travel likely to outpace gains in domestic flying.

Smith Travel Research (STR) projects demand for hotels will be solid this summer (+4.4% versus -6.2% last summer). The U.S. hotel industry should expect to see mixed results, with occupancy up 2.2 percent from summer 2009, average daily rate (ADR) down 1.9 percent and revenue per available room (RevPAR) ending the summer virtually flat with a 0.2 percent increase. This will represent, however, a significant improvement over summer 2009 when nationally occupancy fell 9.1 percent, ADR dropped 9.6 percent and RevPAR was down 17.8 percent.

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