While MMGY Global still believes an economic recession affecting travel is coming, travelers in 2019 plan to spend what they spent last year, indicating that a recession is not around the corner.

"The good news is we're seeing some fairly positive results," said Chris Davidson, executive vice president of MMGY Travel Intelligence, MMGY Global's research and insights company.

Earlier this year, MMGY CEO Clayton Reid predicted a market change within the next 12 to 18 months.

MMGY's 2019-2020 Portrait of the American Traveler survey, released Wednesday, found that while travelers plan to take slightly fewer trips in 2019 than they did in 2018 (3.2 this year compared to 3.5 last year), they will spend about the same. Survey takers reported they spent $5,038 on travel in 2018. They project they will spend $5,025 in 2019.

Davidson said MMGY's supplier clients are reporting that travel demand has never been stronger.

Also encouraging, Davidson said, is the amount survey takers said they would spend in 2018, which was around $4,200, compared to what they reported they spent in 2018 in this year's survey, $5,038.

In an interview after unveiling survey results, Davidson said the timing of a potential recession is up for debate. While Reid believed it would happen within the next 12 months, data indicates it could be farther off.

"I don't see a travel recession based on these current numbers within the next 12 months, but things can happen," he said.

The survey asked about travel agent usage. This year, 16% of respondents said they used an agent in the last 12 months, up 2 percentage points from last year (but down from 19% in 2016). Nineteen percent plan to use the services of an agent in the next two years, up 3 percentage points from last year, but down from 23% in 2017.

Davidson said he believes the popularity of travel advisors will increase, as consumers have indicated they increasingly want to get the most out of their vacation and ensure nothing goes wrong in their travels.

MMGY polls a section of the population representative of active leisure travelers. It surveyed U.S. adults who have taken at least one overnight trip 75 miles or more from home in the previous 12 months and have a household income of $50,000 or more. Davidson said that represents around 23% of the population.

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