U.S. Travel Predicts Modest 2010 Increases in Travel

Modest 2010 increases in leisure, business and international inbound travel will enable the travel industry to add nearly 90,000 jobs in the United States, the U.S. Travel Association predicts. Leisure travel is expected to rise 2 percent, business travel is projected to increase by 2.5 percent and international inbound travel will increase by 3 percent. These job gains come on the heels of 400,000 combined travel industry job losses in 2008 and 2009, U.S. Travel said.

"The travel industry shares President Obama's goal of putting Americans back to work,"  said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Our industry is uniquely capable of adapting to economic upswings and quickly adding tens of thousands of jobs. What we announce today is based upon modest increases in travel. Given its immense potential, we call on the Administration and members of Congress to build a plan for economic recovery that drives significant increases in travel."

A federal economic recovery plan to significantly increase travel and create jobs would include passage of the Travel Promotion Act; improvements in the visa and entry processes that have largely driven the decline in overseas travel to the United States post-9/11; funding for a "NextGen" air traffic control system that will limit flight delays, cancellations and negative impact on the environment; and, encouragement of meetings, events and incentive programs through tax deductions and other mechanisms.

The travel industry employs 7.7 million Americans, supporting one out of every eight non-farm jobs in the country.

Domestic Travel Overview

Domestic leisure travel is expected to increase 2 percent in 2010, with a corresponding increase in leisure travel spending of nearly 5 percent. Domestic business travel volume will grow 2.5 percent next year and business travel spending will increase 4 percent.

"Projected growth in leisure travel is an indicator of rising consumer confidence and disposable income," said Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the U.S. Travel Association. "Following a difficult 2009, businesses have a heightened focus on the value and bottom-line benefits of travel. We expect to see a slight increase in business travel next year based in part on pent-up demand for face-to-face meetings that drive growth and productivity."

International inbound travel will increase nearly 3.0 percent in 2010; however, growth in overseas travel (excluding Canada and Mexico) will remain stable at about 1 percent. Overseas travel visitation in 2010 will remain below 2000 levels (23.5 million versus 26.0 million, respectively). The concern about the lack of substantial growth next year from this market is that overseas travelers contribute significantly more to the U.S. economy, spending an average of $4,500 per person, per trip compared to about $900 per person, per trip for Canadian and Mexican travelers.

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