Natural disasters and Middle East unrest aside, travelers still plan to increase the number of leisure trips they will take in the next year, according to a rec0530leisure-pieent survey commissioned by the Mark Travel Corp.

Twenty-four percent of travelers plan to increase the number of leisure trips they take in the coming year, compared with 22% who said they would cut back on trips.

The poll of 1,000 travelers was conducted in early May by Leede Research Group, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

Thirty-four percent of the respondents said they were cutting costs in other areas so they could afford to travel, but 32% said they would take fewer trips, eat out less, take shorter trips and opt for less expensive vacations because they can't afford the kinds of trips they would like.

The survey indicated that Europe and the Caribbean have lost market share.

For example, this year, 16% of respondents said they planned to visit Europe on their next air-inclusive vacation, compared with 18% of respondents last May and 19% in May 2009.

The Caribbean dropped to 11%, compared with 16% last May and 13% in May 2009.

Domestic destinations like California and Orlando inched up a percentage point, to 11% and 9% respectively, compared with last May.

"Other" destinations saw the most growth, to 21%, compared with 16% last year and 10% in May 2009. Mark Travel said that domestic sites made up the majority of "other" destinations.

Only 12% of respondents said they planned to book their next air-inclusive vacation through a travel agent, and the likelihood of using a travel agent increased with the age of the respondent.

Among those age 25 to 44, 10% said they planned to book their next trip using an agent. That portion rose to 14% among those age 45 and older.
For those who plan on using an agent, Europe and the Caribbean were the most popular destinations for their next booking, with 24% of respondents saying they planned to book their next trip to Europe and 21% choosing the Caribbean. After that, 12% indicated Hawaii for their next trip, 10% the Asia-Pacific region, 9% Orlando and Las Vegas, 4% Mexico, 2% Central and South America and 1% California.

Overall, the market appears to be normalizing a bit, with booking windows gradually increasing, according to the survey.

Nineteen percent of respondents said they were booking their trips at least six months in advance, compared with 16% in May 2010, and 22% are booking between four and five months out, compared with 19% a year ago.

Those booking only two to three months out dropped to 42%, compared with 45% last May, and the last-minute shoppers who book one month or less before their trip has dropped to 17%, compared with 20% a year ago.


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