travel industry has enjoyed a solid year so far and is projected to
do well for the foreseeable future, but a joint study by the Travel
Industry Association and AAA has indicated that the pace of growth
will soon begin to slow. Travel spending is expected to dip to 5.3%
of total spending in 2007, compared with 7.5% in 2006, as the
economy downshifts and as consumers become more cautious, said
Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of Research for the TIA.
The TIA and AAA noted
that the U.S. gross domestic product, which is expected to grow
3.4% in 2006, is projected to grow just 2.2% in 2007.
meanwhile, is forecast to remain the same. Hotel occupancy also is
expected to remain the same.
PricewaterhouseCoopers report predicted that the national hotel
occupancy average would be 64.3% next year; it is 64.2% this year,
But the travel
industry is nevertheless doing well.
Domestic travel rose
about 2.3% during the first half of the year. Leisure travel was up
3.5%, while business travel was down about 1%. Overseas international travel so far is up
Cook said that travel
expenditures by domestic and international consumers were projected
to total $702.5 billion this year and $739.6 billion next
Sandra Hughes, vice
president of AAA Travel, said that new passport regulations
requiring airline passengers returning from the Caribbean by air to
have a valid passport to re-enter the U.S. could spur U.S.
travelers to take more overseas trips, particularly to the U.K.,
Italy and France, which are the most popular international
destinations for Americans.
About 27% of
Americans currently have passports, Hughes said, compared with 41%
of AAA members.
Hughes said AAAs
international tour bookings so far this year were up 14.9% and its
international air bookings were up 13%.