Travel Webcast

INTENTIONS RISE, ANXIETY LINGERS

As the peak summer travel season begins, U.S. travellers plan to hit the road in record numbers despite lingering concerns about the cost, safety and satisfaction of travel experiences according to the latest travelhorizons’ survey of 2,300 U.S. adults conducted by marketing services firm MMGY Global. Trumping pre-recession data, the most recent survey reveals that 70% of Americans plan to take at least one leisure trip between now and October 2013, compared to 65% in March 2007, just as the country was slipping into the Great Recession. Yet while leisure travel intentions have reached a new high since the quarterly travelhorizons’ survey began in 2007, the survey also revealed a sharp decline in Americans’ perceived “safety of travel,” presumably as a result of the recent Boston Marathon bombing, Boeing’s safety problems with its new Dreamliner, as well as both mechanical and hygiene challenges experienced by select cruise lines. The April 2013 “perceived safety of travel in the U.S.” score dropped from 99.2 (February 2013) to 91.8, settling into the lowest point since the 2009 Christmas Day “underwear bomber” terrorist incident (88.2). It should be noted that the April 2013 survey was fielded two days following the Boston Marathon bombings which, as reflected in the data, had a palpable negative effect on the perception of the safety of travel in the U.S. The Traveler Sentiment Score (TSS), tracked every calendar quarter since March 2007, is a derivative of six factors that reflect Americans’ attitudes toward travel, and serves as a predictor of travel behaviour during the coming six months. A score above 100 means the current perception is more positive than negative compared to the benchmark measure recorded in 2007. Americans also reported their finances still weigh heavily on their leisure travel decisions. Concern about the price of gasoline, which topped the list of financial concerns in February 2013 and has been the factor cited most often since this question was added to the survey in 2008, displayed an eight-point drop from April 2012 (from 60% to 52%), likely based on the $0.34 decline in the cost of a gallon of unleaded regular fuel between the midpoint of the April 2012 and April 2013 surveys. The price of air travel is now cited by the majority (54%) of respondents as the greatest financial deterrent to leisure travel. For more, go to http://www.mmgyglobal.com.

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