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Economic rollercoaster does not slow travel for remainder of 2011

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PLYMOUTH, Minn. – Today, Travel Leaders revealed the results from its yearly Fall Travel Trends Survey.

PLYMOUTH, Minn. – Today, Travel Leaders revealed the results from its yearly Fall Travel Trends Survey. Despite the extreme volatility in the United States’ economy in the month of August – the same timeframe as the survey took place – travel agents from across the country indicate that bookings are slightly higher for this fall than they were for the fall of 2010. Conducted August 1-19, 2011, this survey includes responses from 443 Travel Leaders owners, managers and frontline travel agents throughout the United States.

While Las Vegas, Orlando and Honolulu, respectively, are the top three destinations being booked for the remainder of the year – the top recommendation from Travel Leaders agents would be Maui (followed by Orlando and Honolulu). Internationally, London makes an impressive jump into the top three, sneaking past Rome and placing just behind Caribbean cruising and Cancun, Mexico. The top recommendation from Travel Leaders agents would be the Riviera Maya in Mexico (followed by Rome and Cancun).

“For the ninth year in a row, we have sought actual booking data and insider expertise from our Travel Leaders agents nationwide in order to gauge trends for end-of-the-year travel,” stated Roger E. Block, President of Travel Leaders Franchise Group. “We are encouraged that Americans – whether for business or leisure – are continuing to travel, and more frequently than a year ago despite the uncertainty we’ve seen recently in our country’s economic indicators.”

Travel Leaders were asked to name the five top domestic and international destinations they’re booking for the remainder of the year. The following information and trends are based on actual booking data.

Rank
Domestic Destinations
Percentage
2010 Rank

1
Las Vegas, NV
48.1%
2

2
Orlando, FL
46.5%
1

3
Honolulu, HI
35.2%
4

4
New York City, NY
31.6%
3

5
Kahului (Maui), HI
26.0%
5

6
Washington, D.C.
18.1%
9

7
Chicago, IL
15.1%
6

8
Los Angeles, CA
12.4%
8

9
San Francisco, CA
12.0%
7

10
Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ
11.5%
10

Rank
International Destinations
Percentage
2010 Rank

1
CRUISE- Caribbean
44.5%
1

2
Cancun, Mexico
33.0%
2

3
London, England
21.7%
6

4
Rome, Italy
21.0%
5

5
CRUISE- Europe (Med.)
19.0%
4

6
Riviera Maya, Mexico
17.6%
3

7
Paris, France
16.3%
10

8
Montego Bay, Jamaica
14.5%
7

9
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
11.1%
8

10
Punta Cana, Dominican Rep.
10.8%
9

“There truly is pent-up demand from the American traveler. That is very likely one of the big factors for London making such a move up our Top 10 list,” added Block. “With events like the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the upcoming Olympic Games in 2012, as well as the royal wedding earlier this year, perhaps London is enjoying a ‘halo effect’ this fall. Also, for London, Rome and Paris, along with the Mediterranean cruises, all to be doing so well, it’s clear that more Americans are willing to venture farther away on vacations now that so many have passports in hand.”

Top Recommendations for Leisure Travel:

When Travel Leaders owners, managers and agents were asked “If your leisure clients were looking for a recommendation on a domestic destination (excluding cruises), what would be your number one recommendation?” the top responses were: (1) Maui, (2) Orlando, (3) Honolulu, and a tie for fourth between Las Vegas and San Francisco.
When asked “If your leisure clients were looking for a recommendation on an international destination, what would be your top recommendation?” the top responses were: (1) Riviera Maya, Mexico; (2) Rome, Italy; (3) Cancun, Mexico; (4) Paris, France and (5) Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

More People Traveling in 2011:

When asked to compare overall 2011 travel bookings so far to 2010 at this time last year, 55.3% indicated that their bookings were higher and 24.2% indicated that they were the same as compared to a year ago. This also represents a huge turnaround from responses as recently as two years ago.

2011
2010
2009

They’re higher
55.3%
53.7%
9.4%

They’re about even
24.2%
23.9%
11.1%

They’re lower
20.5%
22.4%
79.4%

Optimism in the Travel Industry:

When asked for their personal outlook on their business for the remainder of 2011, an overwhelming majority (91.6%) are either positive or neutral.

2011
2010
2009

Optimistic
71.1%
73.5%
59.5%

Neither optimistic nor pessimistic
20.5%
19.3%
22.3%

Pessimistic
8.4%
7.2%
18.2%