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TrendwatchDecember 10, 2007 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent
Study Indicates Ski Industry is Retaining Older ParticipantsOther Findings Include Rise in Helmet Usage, Increase in Season Pass Use.LAKEWOOD, Colo. – September 12, 2007– Among the most prominent trends noted in the 2007 NSAA National Demographic Study is the continued aging of the visitor base, with strong growth in skiers and riders aged 45 and older. The fact that older participants are being retained in the sport in significant numbers is a welcome plus for the industry.The average age of participants has risen steadily from 33.2 in 1997/98 to 36.6 in 2006/07. Specifically, since 1997/98, the proportion of visitors aged 45 to 54 has increased from 14.0 percent to 19.4 percent; the proportion of visitors aged 55 to 64 has almost doubled from 4.6 percent to 9.4 percent; and the proportion of visitors aged 65 and older has also almost doubled, from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent. Age differences across different regions of the country are dramatic. The Midwest has the youngest visitor base with a median age of 22, followed by the Southeast at 28, Pacific West at 32, Rocky Mountains at 39 and the Northeast at 40.This year’s study also indicates a continued increase in helmet usage. Overall, 40 percent of survey respondents were wearing a helmet when interviewed, up from 38 percent last season and 25 percent in 2002/03.Season pass usage also continues to rise. Thirty-one percent of respondents owned a season pass this season, up from the 26 to 29 percent levels during the prior five seasons.A total of 138,919 surveys were completed at 92 participating ski resorts during the 2006/07 season. The annual demographic study is available for purchase at nsaa.org.
National Survey Reveals Many American Travelers Going Green
More than half of all U.S. adults say they would be more likely to select an airline, rental car or hotel that uses more environmentally friendly products and processes, according to the results of the latest travelhorizonsª survey conducted in August 2007 by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and Ypartnership. But while more than half of U.S. adults may be advocates of environmental responsibility, only 14 percent of respondents said their actual selection of a travel service supplier would be influenced by that supplierÕs efforts to preserve and protect the environment. Just 13 percent would be willing to pay higher rates or fares to use suppliers who demonstrate environmental responsibility (although fully 56 percent said they might). The amount of the rate or fare premium appears to be the source of their hesitation: 76 percent would pay less than 10 percent more per usage (e.g., room night, airline flight, car rental, etc.), with the majority of respondents indicating they would pay less than 5 percent more.
Specifically, 50 percent say they would be more likely to use an airline if they knew it took the initiative to offset carbon emissions, used newer, more fuel-efficient jets, or implemented recycling programs. Almost six out of ten (56 percent) stated the same thing for car rental companies (those offering more fuel efficient and hybrid cars). And fully 54 percent stated they would be more likely to patronize hotels or resorts they knew practiced environmental responsibility.
And, not surprisingly, Americans' sense of environmental responsibility manifests itself in many other ways: 78 percent of U.S. adults consider themselves Òenvironmentally conscious,Ó according to the survey. In fact, more than half: turn out the lights when they leave a room (85 percent); practice energy efficiency by regulating air conditioning and heating when not at home (67 percent); recycle trash (60 percent); shut off water while brushing teeth or shaving (60 percent); try to use more energy efficient light bulbs (59 percent); and keep showers short (53 percent).
California Most Popular U.S. State for Tourism
Tourism in California on the rise, which is opposed to the trends of declining domestic and flat international tourism rates, TravelMole reports. California posted record numbers in 2006, according to the California Travel and Tourism Commission. The state hosted 352.3 million domestic travelers, up more than 5 percent from the previous year. California's share of the domestic travel market increased for the fourth consecutive year to 11.5 percent in 2006, up from 11 percent in 2005. D.K. Shifflet & Associates in McLean, VA compiled the travel figures for the tourism commission. A study of international visitors by CIC Research in San Diego found 21.7 million overseas visitors came to the U.S., unchanged from two years earlier.
Cruise Industry Continues to Grow
Cruise travel continues to grow due to the fact that many cruisers can drive to their ship, the growing availability of spas and the ability to explore exotic Caribbean destinations, according to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), as reported by TravelMole. There are twelve ships are taking maiden voyages this year, including several embarking from Southeast ports, and CLIA reports that eight new vessels are scheduled to debut next year. In the next five years, 40 ships will be introduced, increasing the number of beds from 265,000 to 335,000.
An expected 12.5 million guests will travel on CLIA member cruise lines (representing 98 percent of all North Americans sailing) this year, up from a record 12 million in 2006.
About 9 million of those travels will originate from US ports, which represents about 75 percent of all passenger embarkations, according to CLIA.