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TIA War Impact Surveys


To track the impact of the

war in Iraq on the U.S. travel industry, TIA is conducting a series of

consumer surveys to measure consumer attitudes and travel response to

the war in Iraq. The purpose of this report is to summarize key survey

findings from the first wave of this survey. The first wave of the survey

was conducted March 20-25 using web-based surveys among 1,200 online Americans.

It was conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America and a consortium

of TIA member organizations, including NYC & Company, Kissimmee-St.

Cloud Convention & Visitors Bureau, Orlando/Orange County Convention

& Visitors Bureau, Visit Florida, Choice Hotels, Las Vegas Convention

& Visitors Authority and the Canadian Tourism Commission. Three additional

waves will be conducted over the course of the next two months.


The first wave of the TIA

War Impact Survey indicates cautious optimism for leisure travel this

spring and summer. The vast majority of American travelers say they will

continue to travel for leisure despite the war in Iraq or the weakened

economy. As it has been in the past, the economy is a greater deterrent

to travel than the war. The survey also confirms that changes in leisure

travel preferences will continue and even intensify in the months ahead.

Business travel, however, is likely to continue to be depressed.

Leisure Travel

  • Leisure travel intentions are strong;

    81 percent of travelers say they know they will take at least one leisure

    or vacation trip this spring and summer.

  • Late booking trends, however, continue

    as many (46%) of travelers have not yet begun planning these trips.

    This delayed-planning pattern could provide excellent marketing opportunities

    for travel companies and destinations.

  • Among those planning spring and summer

    leisure trips, 25 percent say they will travel more this year, as compared

    to only 11 percent who say they will travel less.

  • Travelers’ interest in the most common

    leisure activities remains strong. It appears, however, that the war

    and/or weakened economy has stimulated even greater interest in highway

    travel, in-state travel, short getaways of three nights or less and

    visiting small towns and rural areas.

  • On the other hand, the war and/or weakened

    economy is having the most negative impact on interest in travel outside

    the U.S., air travel, visiting places that draw large crowds, cruises,

    and visits to major cities or urban areas.

  • Since November 2002 when war clouds began

    to hover over the U.S., the weakened economy has influenced American

    travel habits more than the threat of war. About one-third (32%) of

    travelers say the weakened economy has affected their leisure travel

    plans. The weakened economy has most often caused travelers to travel

    closer to home, delay planning for spring/summer leisure trips, shorten

    trip durations and/or change the class of hotel used to get a better


  • Less than one-quarter (22%) have changed

    their travel plans because of the threat of war. Avoiding the use of

    air travel, followed by traveling closer to home are the two most common

    changes reported among this group.

Business Travel