Members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) are optimistic about travel over the upcoming holidays, saying recent world events seem to be having limited impact on holiday travel.
In a quick poll of members, 200 agents responded that they are not seeing any significant impact from recent terrorist events in France on Thanksgiving travel plans in the US. When asked to rate the impact of recent events on Thanksgiving travel on a sliding scale of 1-5, with 1 having the least impact, ASTA members rated it an average of 1.72. The rate was nearly the same for Chanukah, Christmas and New Year’s.
For the winter travel season, the top domestic destination either requested by, or already booked by, agents is New York, according to the poll. Orlando came in second, followed by Las Vegas. Internationally, Cancun was chosen as the most sought after or booked destination, followed by London and Rome (Paris was fourth).
“Travel agents open doors to the world while taking the stress and worry out of travelling, especially during the busy holiday travel season,” said ASTA president Zane Kerby. “Travel agents are only a cell phone call away when travelers find themselves stuck or stranded on the road. Agents are like a hotline to happier travel.”
When asked what sort of advice agents are giving their clients who may be worried about travel during this holiday season in particular, one agent responded that travellers are not nearly as fearful as many make them out to be. Other comments from ASTA members include: “Safety is the number one concern for my customers, no matter where they travel.” “Most travellers are still planning to travel.” “The incidents in France are having a minimal impact on our business at this time.” “This is the new normal. Tragic, but folks are continuing to travel.” “No adverse impact yet.” “This can be the best time to travel when there is more security and awareness.”” “We have not experienced any cancellations or changes. We also are not getting much in the way of phone calls from concerned travellers.”