Rising gas prices a concern for summer travel: USTA

With the price of crude oil continuing to rise, travellers could alter vacation plans to control summer vacation costs and business travelers will travel less, according to a new survey by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA). “If travellers are spending more on gas, they are spending less on hotels, attractions, shopping and restaurants, which could have a negative impact on our overall economy,”said USTA president Roger Dow (pictured). “We need to find solutions that reduce the burden which rising gas prices are placing on everyday travellers.”For vacationers planning to travel by car this summer, more than half (54%) said that an increase in gas prices would affect their summer leisure travel plans, and an even higher percentage (57%) indicated altering travel plans if gas prices increased by at least $0.26 – $1.25. Roughly one-quarter (26.8%) of business travellers said that an increase in gas prices would affect summer business plans. Almost half (44%) of vacationers travelling by car said that an increase in gas prices would cause them to take fewer trips this summer. Almost one-fifth (19%) of business travellers using a car would take fewer trips. Forty-three per cent of leisure travellers planning to fly this summer said that an increase in airfare due to higher oil prices would affect their summer plans, with one-quarter (25%) of business travellers planning to fly saying the same. “It’s important to remember that, along with the housing crisis, a surge in gasoline prices was one of the leading factors that pushed the economy into recession in 2008,”said David Huether, senior vice-president of economics and research at U.S. Travel. “There is a very real probability that if gas prices continue to climb, Americans will change and reduce their travel plans, which would work against the positive economic momentum that had been building in recent quarters.”(http://www.ustravel.org)