Despite Economic Pressures, Americans Spending More on Travel: ASTA

This week, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) hosted it annual Legislative Day in Washington, D.C., bringing travel advisor leaders in front of Members of Congress to discuss issues that impact their businesses, work life and their client's travel experience. Prior, ASTA presented at the National Press Club its “Travel Industry Forecast from Leading Industry Experts,” which detailed new travel trend data and included a panel of travel CEOs who spoke on the industry's recovery, the challenges faced with inflation, supply and demand, and the opportunity on the horizon.

What did we learn?

Despite the economic pressures, consumers are spending more on travel than anything else—and 67 percent of travelers have plans to travel before the end of the year. In addition, 41 percent of consumers are planning to spend even more on travel in 2023.

As a result of the surge in demand and the new world of travel, 71 percent of consumers think travel is more complex. Similarly, ASTA’s research indicates nearly half of travelers (45 percent) agree that using the services of a professional travel advisor would put their mind at ease. The rescinding of the U.S. inbound testing order also gave the travel agency community a boost, with approximately 80 percent of travel advisors telling ASTA that they expect their sales to increase compared to the first half of the year.

That said, according to ASTA, while some bright spots have started to emerge, the fact of the matter is that there are economic and industry pressures pushing on all sides of the travel industry. Almost 80 percent of Americans agree that travel is an important driver of the U.S. economy, yet the disruptions over the past weekend in the air travel system tell us that we’re far from prepared to meet the surge in demand.

There’s also concern over inflation; while travel spend is up, that could also easily be explained by rising prices. ASTA noted that according to its members, the number of travelers who are concerned about inflation (as well as global conflict) has doubled in 2022. ASTA reports that Americans are spending $512 per person per day while traveling, an 11 percent increase over 2019 spend. Globally, consumer prices are up over 9 percent.

Trending Destinations: Mainstays like the Caribbean and Western Europe are proving popular with ASTA clients. Travel to these destinations are up 25 percent. Other popular locales include Hawaii, French Polynesia and South Africa.

Source: ASTA

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