Depending on which organization you believe, the travel industry
next year will be up or down.
Maintaining that optimism is high, Arlington, Va.-based Flight
Plan for America, a project of the ARC Escrow Fund Working Group
and managed by ARC on behalf of 130 airlines, ASTA and ARTA, said
Americans are upbeat about travel.
In a survey of 504 business and leisure travelers, 55% said they
believe the travel industry has done a better job of encouraging
travel since last Sept. 11, and two-thirds said they believe air
security has improved since the government takeover of security
The upcoming holiday travel season looks bright, with 60% of
survey respondents planning trips and almost a quarter (23%)
planning more holiday season trips than last year.
The general outlook for travel is also encouraging, Flight Plan
said, with 46% of those surveyed saying that if prices stay the
same, they will spend more on travel this year than last.
“In January, consumers told us they had two main concerns about
travel security and money,” said Kathleen Argiropolous, chair of
the Flight Plan for America committee and vice president of travel
agency services at ARC. “Now, they are saying they are confident in
security, and while money is still a concern, they are planning
Among the 55% of respondents who said they believe the industry
has better encouraged travel since Sept. 11, the most commonly
cited improvements include: reducing the risk of terrorist attacks
(55%), offering better travel incentives (43%), offering better
travel packages (42%), making travel more affordable (42%), and
reducing the hassle of security checks (24%).
Meanwhile, the Travel Industry Association of America said that,
after falling nearly 6% last year, domestic and international
travel spending continues to be soft and isn’t expected to recover
to record 2000 levels until sometime in 2004.
“We can expect a long, slow road to recovery for the travel and
tourism industry, and even when it does come, this does not mean we
will necessarily return to the way things were before Sept. 11,”
said Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research at
“Travel demands, patterns and expectations may have been changed
for the long-term. And, despite continued slow growth in the
leisure travel market, this recovery is fragile and could be choked
off by any number of new developments.”
TIA said domestic and international travel expenditures dropped
nearly 6% in 2001 down $33.3 billion, to $537.2 billion.
Expenditures are forecasted to decline another $1.9 billion this
year to $535.3 billion. The TIA said it projects 5% gains in 2003
Already depressed, business travel will continue its downward
spiral, the TIA said. After experiencing a 3% decline in 2001,
business travel is forecasted to fall another 4.3% this year.