Gas Prices Not Likely To Affect Travel Plans of Most American Travelers

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One of Six Plans To Spend Tax Rebate On Travel

Six of ten (59%) Americans who are currently planning a trip with their car, truck or SUV this summer will not change their travel plans even with additional increases in the price of gas, according to the closely watched travelhorizonsTM survey co-authored by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and Ypartnership.

One of six (16%) of those expecting a tax rebate as part of the economic stimulus package approved by Congress is planning to spend their rebate on an overnight or day trip for leisure purposes, according to the same nationally representative survey of 2,233 adults conducted during the month of April.

"The data confirm, once again, that vacations are a non-negotiable part of contemporary life, even in challenging economic times," said Peter Yesawich, Ypartnership's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Roger Dow, TIA's President and Chief Executive Officer, said the survey results indicating $12.1 billion of the tax rebates will be spent on trips underscores travel's importance to the overall economy.

"These survey results prove that travel is a multi-billion dollar shot into the arm of the American economy," said Dow. "It is time for policymakers to do their part by improving America's infrastructure, developing a more efficient and reliable air travel process and passing the Travel Promotion Act."

Among the 41% of respondents who stated their plans would change if gas prices rise further, the greatest percentage would simply drive a shorter distance to their vacation destination. Other expected outcomes include people taking fewer trips and spending less money on other aspects of vacations as revealed below:

  •     38% would drive a shorter distance;
  •     36% would take fewer trips and/or cancel a trip;
  •     30% would spend less on souvenirs and shopping;
  •     27% would spend less money on meals/restaurants and/or less on entertainment;
  •     23% would spend less on hotels;
  •     21% would spend fewer nights away from home;
  •     20% would select another vacation destination.

The survey revealed that 74% of households are expecting to receive a tax rebate check as part of the economic stimulus package approved by Congress. Among those planning to use the money to take a trip, just under half (46%) plan to stay in a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast, one out of four (25%) plans to take a trip by air, 11% plan to visit a theme park, 5% plan to stay in a timeshare and 3% plan to take an international trip.

Among adults not planning to use their tax rebate to take an overnight or day trip, the most frequently mentioned uses include:

  •     Put in savings account, mutual fund or otherwise invest (29%);
  •     Spend on home necessities such as food, utility bills, etc. (24%);
  •     Pay down a credit card balance (23%);
  •     Pay down debt other than a credit card balance (18%);
  •     Spend on dining out or other forms of entertainment (6%).

Only 4% indicated they would use the rebate to make a home mortgage payment and/or home or apartment rental payment.

travelhorizonsTM is a quarterly survey of U.S. adults co-authored by the Travel Industry Association and Ypartnership. The national survey of 2,233 U.S. adults was conducted during April 2008, and the estimated margin of error is +/-2.05 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

For more information on travelhorizonsTM visit http://www.tia.org/researchpubs/travel_horizons.html.

The Travel Industry Association (TIA) is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $700 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. TIA is proud to be a partner in travel with American Express. For more information, visit http://www.tia.org.

Ypartnership is a worldwide advertising and public relations agency that specializes in serving travel industry clients and co-author of the widely-quoted National Travel MonitorTM with Yankelovich, Inc. For more information, visit http://www.ypartnership.com.

Media Contact Information:        

Noel Perkins, Ypartnership, (407) 838-1797 or noel.perkins@ypartnership.com
Cathy Keefe, TIA, (202) 408-8422 or ckeefe @ tia.org

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