Expect Rebound in Leisure Travel Demand

If you are ready for some good news on the demand for travel services over the next six months, Peter Yesawich, chairman and CEO of the Ypartnership has it.

In Yesawich’s Insights online blog for February he notes that after languishing since February 2009, the Ypartnership/US Travel Association Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI) has soared to its highest level since April 2007.

This is driven by the dramatic improvement of four out of the six measurements from which the index is derived, Yesawich reports. The overall TSI now stands at 95.2, up 9.2 percent from October 2010. The February survey revealed a substantial increase in the "Affordability of travel" index (up to 118.2 in February 2011 from 105.2 in October 2010), suggesting that consumers are increasingly more positive about their ability to afford to travel than just three months ago.

“It still remains below its July 2009 peak of 124.0, however, when travel suppliers ramped up discounts and special offers to counteract the impact of the Great Recession,” Yesawich says.

Positive increases have also been observed in "Interest in travel," "Time for travel" and "Money available for travel," all of which returned to levels last seen in February 2008, thereby suggesting the travel and tourism industry can expect a rebound in leisure demand during the year ahead.

According to the February survey, 59 percent of U.S. adults plan to take a leisure trip between now and July of 2011, the TSI says. The percentage of U.S. adults intending to travel for leisure purposes during the next six months grew from 56 percent in February 2010 to 59 percent in February 2011.

“This is higher than the percentage recorded in February 2007 at the onset of the Great Recession. Based on 233 million U.S. adults aged 18 or over (a figure that will be updated once results from the 2010 U.S. Census are available), an estimated 138 million U.S. adults expect to take at least one leisure trip between now and the end of July, while 24 percent, or 55 million, have already decided not to travel for leisure purposes.

“The bottom line is that the remaining 40 million U.S. adults have yet to decide whether or not to take a leisure trip during the next six months," Yesawich says. “Thus there is still considerable (additional) potential in the market for travel service suppliers to create attractive marketing programs that will convert this large block of "undecideds" to travel.”

For more information on the Ypartnership/US Travel travelhorizons survey visit the Publications section of www.ypartnership.com.

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