Travel agents in the West believe the stock market, not the
potential of war with Iraq, has the strongest negative effect on
their clients’ interest in travel right now.
A TravelAge West survey, conducted online Nov. 4-8,
found that 63 percent of the 301 respondents consider the market to
be their customers’ greatest concern when considering travel.
Terrorism abroad was cited by 62 percent, closely followed by
overall economic conditions at 61 percent.
“We have been hit hard economically since this is a high-tech
area. I still think that is a big factor for us,” said Sharon
Wright, a travel consultant with World Wide Travel in Austin,
Just half the respondents 50 percent said the possibility of
U.S. action against Iraq has been a travel deterrent.
But should the United States go to war with Iraq, a full 95
percent of the respondents believe their clients will take fewer
Some agents, however, are more optimistic. Kathy Hayes-Stephan,
president of LuxuryVacationMall.com in Lake Forest, Calif., said
her clients are booking holiday trips as well as exotic trips for
the end of 2003.
“We have not had any cancellations or any feedback that they are
concerned at this point in time,” she said.
Wright noted that Texans are usually late bookers, “so it is
hard to say if the Europe market is going to be slow due to the
threat of war in Iraq.”
Among those who expect a downturn in foreign trips, 73 percent
of the agents said they expect clients to take more drive
vacations; 62 percent anticipate more weekend getaways, and 50
percent expect more trips within the United States.
Las Vegas might be the big winner, with 60 percent of the
respondents saying they expect customers to visit the Strip more
often in the event of war. Alaska was close behind at 56 percent
and Hawaii, 54 percent.
As for the agents’ wartime recommendations, 62 percent said they
would suggest Hawaii vacations more often; 52 percent, Alaska and
46 percent, Mexico. Hawaii currently leads the “most recommended
destination” list among agents, with a full 78 percent of the
respondents saying they suggest it “always” or “very
Mexico draws the same recommendations from 67 percent of the
agents; Alaska, 58 percent, and the Caribbean, 52 percent.