EP Award Promo

Holiday travel plans near pre-recession level


Holiday travel, an economic bellwether for the airline and hospitality industries, is projected to increase to near pre-recession levels this year, a new study suggests.

About 28 percent of Americans plan to travel for the holidays, up from 23 percent in 2009, according to findings from an annual poll released Tuesday by Maritz Research, the St. Louis Business Journal reported.

“Finally we see a silver lining for the travel industry, which is rebounding from a $4.05 billion loss during 2009’s holiday season,” said Rick Garlick, director of consulting and strategic implementation for Maritz Research’s Hospitality Group.

Holiday travelers plan to spend on average $1,203 in 2010, up $349, or 41 percent, from $854 in 2009, Maritz Research said. For the travel industry, this translates to expected revenue growth of $3.85 billion.

This year, 19 percent of travelers plan to fly for Thanksgiving, up from the 14 percent who traveled by air in 2009. Still, it’s far below the peak of 32 percent during the 2004 holiday season.

Higher airline fees are partially to blame for this overall reduction in air travel, with half of fliers who have traveled in past six months describing all of the new fees as a “major annoyance.”

fhbl brd 080123 300x250