Fall Travel Rises, Spending Remains Low

WASHINGTON, DC— American travelers plan to take 157.8 million person-trips this fall (September, October, November). In spite of only increasing a modest 1.9 percent, fall 2002 travel intentions are at their highest levels in six years, according to the latest seasonal forecast by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). A person-trip is one person traveling 50+ miles, one-way, away from home or spending one or more overnights on a trip. Survey results are based on a representative sample of 1,300 U.S. adults by telephone.

“These numbers send a powerful message about the popularity of the U.S. travel product,” remarked Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association of America. “But while travel volume looks strong this fall, travel spending is likely to remain depressed, as consumers remain concerned about their personal finances and finding time to travel. Travelers are continuing to find ways to economize on their vacations by taking shorter trips, traveling shorter distances and participating in less expensive activities.”

According to TIA’s Fall 2002 Travelometer, 79 percent of all past year travelers say they will travel this fall. In addition, 17 percent say they will travel more this fall than last, slightly higher than fall 2001 travel intentions (14%). More than half (53%) say they will travel the same amount as last fall. Leisure travel will continue to dominate this fall, with 84 percent of travelers planning to take such a trip. Nineteen percent plan to travel for business or convention purposes and nine percent will travel for some other reason.

The most popular travel companions continue to be spouses (55%) and children (29%). Survey results show that 16 percent of fall travelers will travel with friends, 13 percent will travel with other family members, and 5 percent will travel as part of a group. Five percent will travel with their parents, 1 percent will travel with grandparents and 15 percent will travel alone.