International leisure travel is leading the current economic recovery, according to a recent study by Virtuoso, as members have confirmed that people are once again traveling and are no longer deferring vacations, releasing some of the pent-up demand for vacations that has been building since the economic downturn began.A recent survey of these high-end retailers revealed the following travel patterns:
* 81 percent of Virtuoso travel retailers reported that their agency’s future bookings were up compared to this time last year
* 80 percent say sales are up over the last three months
* 55 percent say revenues are higher than this time last year
Virtuoso members were also surveyed on the type of business they see increasing. More than half – 54 percent – stated they believe both their leisure and corporate travel bookings will rebound in the next six months. However, leisure business is leading the way out of the recession for Virtuoso agency owners and managers.
* International leisure business has been the most insulated against the economy, according to 39 percent of respondents
* 21 percent stated that sales of three- to five- day vacations have remained strong relative to the economy
* 18 percent said sales of 10+ day vacation sales have been the most resilient against declines
* Only 13 percent reported that corporate travel has been the most insulated segment
Virtuoso travel agency owners and managers were polled at five regional meetings during January and February 2010 held throughout the U.S. Virtuoso’s upscale travel retailers attend the meetings each year to participate in trend analysis and training; hotel, cruise and tour industry reviews; and technology education, all centered on delivering better value and service to travelers.
“Many people are not aware that travel represents the world’s largest service industry; that it makes up 9.4 percent of the world’s GDP and 220 million jobs worldwide. Travelers benefit the world economy and deepen world understanding. We are happy to help people travel again while benefiting countries that rely on tourism revenue,” said Virtuoso CEO Matthew D. Upchurch.