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Continued positive outlook for U.S. travel industry

Travelhorizons survey reveals significant rise in leisure and business travel intentions and current interest in visiting Cuba. 68 percent plan to take at least one leisure trip during the next six months, a significant increase over the level recorded in 2014, when 64 percent reported such intentions.

ORLANDO, FLA. – The year ahead is looking good for the travel industry, according to the latest travelhorizons survey released by marketing services firm MMGY Global. The January 2015 survey, of 2,300 U.S. adults, reports that 68 percent plan to take at least one leisure trip during the next six months, a significant increase over the level recorded in 2014, when 64 percent reported such intentions. The survey also reveals a continued positive outlook for business travel, and profiled current interest in vacation travel to Cuba.

Leisure Travel Intentions Up Due to Financial Factors
Leisure travel Intentions are up four percentage points over the same time in 2014, with seven in ten (68%) U.S. adults planning to take at least one leisure trip during the next six months. Several financial factors that typically depress demand for leisure travel services show a dramatic decline over the previous year as well. The most noteworthy changes include the decline in travelers’ concerns about the price of gas and the value of the U.S. dollar against major foreign currencies.

Reflecting the increase in travel intentions, the Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI), which measures U.S. adults’ interest in travel, time for travel, personal finances available for travel, affordability of travel, quality of service, and safety of travel, has ascended to the highest level recorded since the survey’s inception, the first quarter of 2007. Driving this increase are positive intentions with respect to the perceived affordability of travel and the availability of personal finances for travel, suggesting that U.S. travelers are feeling more confident about their personal finances.

Those who plan to travel more than they did last year cite their motivations for doing so as “now having the time to travel” (44%) or “wanting a break from the routine of home and/or work” (41%). Other notable motivations include “the desire to relieve stress/need to relax” (39%) and “the need to reconnect with family/friends” (38%).

Business Travel Intentions Up Due to Strengthened Economy
Due to the improving economy, business travel intentions have risen dramatically as well, recording a nine percentage points increase over last year, with 32 percent of U.S. adults now expecting to take at least one business trip during the next six months. This figure has more than doubled over the previous five years, from just 15 percent in 2010.

Intent to Travel to Cuba Surges with Easing Of Travel Restrictions
Other Caribbean destinations are likely to face immediate, strong competition as greater access to Cuba is now available to American travelers. With fewer travel restrictions, Cuba appears to be drawing interest away from other island destinations. Specifically, the survey findings report that 46 percent of U.S. travelers who are likely to travel to a Caribbean destination during the next two years would be willing to change their vacation plans to visit Cuba instead.

The survey reveals that 19 percent of U.S. adults would consider taking a vacation to Cuba during the next two years. Among those, Millennials (27%) expressed the greatest interest in visiting the country, followed by Gen Xers (24%).

The “desire to learn more about the history/culture of the country” (52%) and “travel to a destination that was previously inaccessible to Americans” (46%) are the primary motivators for considering a visit to Cuba. Many U.S. adults are also eager to visit Cuba for personal reasons, with 17 percent wanting to explore their heritage and 14 percent wishing to visit family.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.