2014 was a strong year for the travel industry, and 2015 is poised to succeed as well, as evidenced by the recent announcement of three travel records.
New Orleans Sets Tourism Record in 2014
Signs are looking good for the tourism industry in New Orleans, with the city recording a record-setting $6.81 billion in visitor spend in 2014, according to the 2014 New Orleans Area Visitor Profile study, completed by the University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC).
The visitor spend was a 5.3 percent increase over 2013. Also in 2014, the city welcomed 9.52 million visitors, an increase of 2.6 percent over 2013.
After Hurricane Katrina, visitor numbers dropped to 3.7 million in 2006, with $2.9 billion in visitor spending. Due to the efforts of the New Orleans CVB and the NOTMC, visitor numbers have steadily increased, with visitor spending more than doubling the figures reached right after Katrina.
Travel to Germany Sets Record
The volume of international travel to Germany reached a record high for the fifth year in a row in 2014, with a total of 75.6 million overnight stays. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, the number of overnight stays by visitors from abroad in accommodation establishments with ten or more beds went up by 3.7 million in the period from January to December, a year-on-year increase of 5.1 percent.
Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), said, “Once again we are able to look back on an outstanding set of results – our record in 2014 provides further evidence that Germany has arrived in the top tier of international travel destinations. Arrivals went up by 4.6 percent. This means we are comfortably above the comparable growth rate for Europe, which the UNWTO puts at 3.9 percent, and on a par with the global growth rate of 4.7 percent. The latest UNWTO forecasts suggest that the international travel market will expand by between 3 and 4 percent in 2015. We will build on last year’s strong performance and take a bigger than average cut of this growth. This will lay the perfect foundation for our long-term outlook of achieving 121.5 million international overnight stays a year by 2030, which we believe is a realistic objective.”
Spring Break Air Travel to Hit Highest Level in Seven Years
Looking ahead, Airlines for America (A4A) is projecting 2015 air travel to rise to its highest level in seven years.
A4A is projecting air travel for the period of March 1 through April 30 to rise from 123 million onboard passengers in 2009 to 134.8 mllion onboard passengers this year. Atlanta, Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles, Dallas Fort Worth and New York JFK are expected to rank as the top 5 busiest airports.
Air Travel Grows in January
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports air traffic was up 4.6 percent in January as compared to the same period one year ago.
This represents a slower start to the year compared to 2014 full-year growth of 5.9 percent. However, results likely were affected by the timing of the Lunar New Year in Asia, which occurred one month later this year compared to 2014. January capacity rose 5.2 percent and load factor slipped 0.5 percentage points to 77.7 percent. While domestic markets drove growth in the latter part of 2014, international traffic was stronger in January.
All regions recorded year-over increases in demand except for Africa.
U.S. Hotel Prices Outpace Global Average
Hotel prices paid for U.S. domestic travel rose by 5 percent in 2014, surpassing the global average of 3 percent, according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index.
Hotel prices have now experienced five years of steady price rises since they plummeted during the financial collapse of 2008.
The average price paid by U.S. travelers domestically rose 5 percent to $137, with prices rising in all but two of the Top 50 most popular destinations in the country. Internationally, the strength of the dollar led to price decreases in many of the most popular destinations for American travelers in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, where travelers received more value for their money.
The global HPI stood at 113 at the end of 2014, 13 points higher than at its launch in 2004 and on a par with its 2008 level but still four points lower than its peak at 117 in 2007.
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