Real recovery in the travel and tourism industry is clearly underway, with the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) forecasting a 3.2 percent increase in leisure travel for the 2004 summer season.Ê According to TIA’s Summer 2004 Forecast, Americans will take more than 334 million person-trips during June, July and August 2004.Ê A person-trip is one person traveling 50+ miles, one-way, away from home.“For the first time in years, the summer travel season will start off with a bang and we expect it to stay strong through August,” remarked Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association of America.Ê “But there are some causes for concern, including rising gas prices and higher inflation. We are also sensing a general unease among Americans concerning the affordability of travel, which isn’t surprising considering travel prices have risen 7 percent since December.”
The dramatic shift in travel trends over the past few years, such as Americans taking more driving vacations, staying closer-to-home and visiting more rural destinations, will still be prevalent this summer but there are signs the trends are softening.Ê Air travel is expected to increase 5 percent this summer, primarily due to leisure travelers, compared to a 3 percent increase in auto travel.Ê RV travel is likely to remain very strong this summer.
Americans expect to stay away an average of 7.6 nights on their longest pleasure trip, down slightly from last year.Ê Travelers plan on spending an average of $1,101 on their longest pleasure trip this summer, up 4.4 percent from summer 2003.
SUMMER 2004 HIGHLIGHTS
* Many trips will include children this summer, with 38 percent of travelers taking kids on their longest trip.Ê Six percent will include a grandchild.
* Traveling with one’s spouse is also popular (58%), as is traveling with other family members (20%) and traveling with friends (14%).Ê Seven percent will travel with their parents and 6 percent will travel alone.
* Visiting friends and relatives (77%), going to a beach or lake (73%) and visiting small towns or rural areas (65%) are the top three most popular summer activities.
* Summer travelers also plan on: visiting cities/urban areas (61%), visiting national or state parks/forests (48%), visiting historic sites (41%), attending a family reunion (38%) or camping, hiking or climbing (37%).
* More than one-third of all summer travelers plan on attending a performing arts event, such as a concert or play.Ê Similar percentages plan on attending a cultural event, such as an ethnic festival or heritage activity, and visiting a museum.
* Nearly one-third (32%) of summer travelers say they will go to theme parks, while 26 percent intend to go to a gambling casino.Ê Nineteen percent of travelers plan to use an RV, while 18 percent intend to enjoy an all-inclusive resort.Ê Ten percent say they plan to take a cruise.