By Aki Uola
The travel and vacation industry has been recovering from the economic downturn. In the year 2008, the vacation business experienced significant decline in several areas of the industry; between the winter 08-09 and winter 09-10, the overall trips decreased by .5%, the occupancy rate for lodging decreased by 7.5%, averaging spending decline by 4.5% and direct spending by 6.4%. Needless to say, it was not a good year for the people making their living out of vacation rentals.
However, the industry has been recovering efficiently after the winter of 2009-2010. By the spring 2010, total trips were up by 2.3%, occupancy rate up by 3.7%, and average spending per day was up by 2.3% when compared to the spring 2009 levels. Similar trends can be seen when comparing these important indicators from fall 2009 to fall 2010; the occupancy rate had increased by 8%, overall trips by 2.5% and average spending by 2.1%.
Even though the vacation industry has taken its toll from the poor economy and people have been travelling less than before, several steps have been taken initiate a faster recovery. Recently, a “Brand American” campaign was launched. The goal of this campaign is mainly to encourage international travel to the US. This idea of increasing international travel is excellent and could be something that the US vacation industry is in need of; if Americans are not traveling enough, why not bring in foreign vacationers to increase the business.
While launching this new campaign, U.S. Travel Association (USTA) held an international Pow-Wow event. This event brought together several representatives from the US vacation industry, such as airlines, accommodation companies, shopping malls and food chains. The purpose of this conference was to come up with ideas on how to marker the US attractions and vacations to people outside the US.
The reason why international tourism seems attractive for the US vacation industry is clear. As of right now, international tourism makes up for 20% of yearly travelers and is responsible for 35% of the total tourism spending. In addition, on average each international visitor to the US spends approximately $4000.
(Note to the reader: statistics used in comparing 2008-2010 are based on NH statistics only. The statistics can differ between states)
BusinessNH Magazine, July 2011