According to the most recent results of the travelhorizons quarterly survey, the U.S. Traveler Sentiment Index rose to 90.2 in February 2009 from 78.2 in October 2008 due to an increase in the perceived “affordability of travel.” The survey, which was conducted from Feb. 7 to 13, polled a representative survey of 2,270 adults, from which the Index is calculated.
The spike in the perceived affordability appears to be a direct result of the promotional pricing and related incentives now being offered by tour suppliers who represent practically every segment of the travel industry. Many airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies, attractions and rental car companies are featuring rates and fares that are up to 50 percent off the prices being quoted just six months ago.
“We are very encouraged that more people are signaling a willingness to travel for leisure purposes,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman of Ypartnership, which co-authors travelhorizons with the U.S. Travel Association. “This is the first increase we have observed in the Index since January 2008, which indicates that the discounts travel providers and destinations are offering are working to attract more travelers, even in this down economy.” Source: National Tour Association
As I travel around the southeast promoting our destination at consumer trade shows, speaking to thousands of people, one thing is clear. Families are still traveling for vacations and get-a-ways. We are fortunate to be a drive destination and have the first ever international green airport under construction. If our spring season is any indication of what the summer is going to bring, I predict a good year for visitors and businesses.
I will be traveling to Nashville, TN next week to the Southern Women’s Show. Over 34,000 ladies will attend the four day event. I look forward to promoting our destination, accommodations and fun things to do while staying on “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”. I will give an update on my trip home.
Debi Knight, President
Panama City Beach Tourism Services