PHOENIX -- The tour operator sector has grown 26% over the past two years to become a nearly $19 billion industry, according to a new PwC survey released at the U.S. Tour Operators Association's annual conference.

Members also see a rosy year ahead, with 100% of surveyed operators predicting growth in 2019 and 56% forecasting a boom year ahead, said USTOA CEO Terry Dale. 

"Since the first PwC study was commissioned in 2012, it's the first time we've seen such a bullish response," he said.

The biennial survey of USTOA members found that tour operators expect to close out the year with sales of $18.7 billion to 9.8 million individual travelers, Dale said. 

The survey also found that tour operators expect to have filled 21 million hotel room nights in 2018, up from 19 million in 2017, and 5.8 million air seats, up from 5.4 million.

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