Findings from the second phase of research
just released by the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and Colorado Ski Country
USA indicate travelers are regaining confidence in planning trips since the
events of Sept. 11.
These results are based upon the second phase of a series of online
surveys designed to measure and track changes in national consumer behavior
and attitudes toward travel since Sept. 11. Findings from the first phase
were released in October. As part of the second phase of research,
2,300 people, many of them skiers, were surveyed during the first week of
Changes in Leisure Plans
The research indicates that over time, the effects of Sept. 11 appear to
have less of an impact on leisure travel. Since October, the number of people
indicating that the terrorist attacks would influence their travel plans has
decreased by 24 percent.
In fact, consumers are now more likely to change their travel plans due to
economic factors. About 19 percent of the respondents, down from 21 percent
in October, report that they will alter travel plans due to a change in
economic status. While only seven percent of respondents are likely to cancel
a winter leisure trip, 33 percent are likely to modify their travel plans in
one way or another.
The survey asked travelers about their likely reactions to the events of
Results also show that certain types of trips are more impacted by the
terrorist attacks than others. For example, travel abroad, to the Olympics,
cruises and city vacations are among the hardest hit. At the same time,
travel close to home, vacations visiting friends and relatives and
ski/snowboarding vacations are more resilient. Findings indicate the number
of people planning to take a trip to visit with family and friends has
increased ten percent.
“The research indicates that with time more and more consumers are
regaining confidence in leisure travel,” says CEO/President of Colorado Ski
Country USA David Perry. “And mountain sports enthusiasts appear to be
leading the charge.”
The research also provides insight into the length of time consumers
anticipate waiting to make travel plans. In October, approximately 23 percent
of respondents reported that they would “wait a while/will put off leisure
trip planning.” This figure rose 50 percent in November. Nevertheless, there
remains an attitude of uncertainty and delay among 10 to 15 percent of
Of those surveyed, about 80 percent say that they are planning to take a
trip to Colorado. As of the first week in November, 44 percent had booked a
trip, up from 32 percent in October. Another 36 percent of those surveyed
report that they will book a trip after the holidays.
“There is a great opportunity for the Colorado tourism industry to
capitalize on our strong brand and exceptional product and to convert those
consumers who have not yet made winter travel plans into Colorado visitors,”
says CTOB Chairman Bill Jensen.
Cancellation of Trips
Business travel continues to be more impacted than leisure travel.
Nineteen percent of those surveyed indicate altered business travel patterns
as a result of the events of Sept. 11 and a declining economy, with 47 percent
reporting no change. According to the research, about 16 percent of
respondents have cancelled a pleasure/leisure trip since Sept. 11. The impact
of these cancellations has already been felt, with the majority of them
occurring immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks, and 43 percent of these
cancellations occurring in October and November. Reasons given for canceling
include: concern about safety (60 percent), concerns about convenience of
travel (39 percent), personal financial situation (23 percent) and less
interest in taking a trip (22 percent).