Travel Trends

Tradition Offsets Struggling Economy To Keep Holiday Travel Strong

- The 41 million people forecast by AAA to travel over Thanksgiving despite mounting economic concerns is due to a desire to maintain traditions, create memories and build relationships, according to a unique Harris Interactive survey recently completed for the Travel Industry Association that identifies why people travel over the holidays.

The survey of 2,256 adults conducted earlier this month showed that despite economic concerns some 60 percent of those visiting with out-of-town family or friends strongly feel the time and money spent is a small price to pay to be with people they love.

'Holiday travel's stability and relative strength compared with other sectors of the economy is an indication of how much people value the experience of sharing time with loved ones,' said Suzanne Cook, Senior Vice President of Research for the Travel Industry Association.

Thanksgiving travel is expected to decline a modest 1.4 percent compared with a year ago. Many other areas of the economy affected by discretionary income, such as automobile sales and certain retail sectors, have reported significantly larger declines in recent months or anticipate larger declines during the fourth quarter.

The Harris survey revealed that among those who visit with out of town family or friends:

70 percent recognize it's a tradition to be with family or friends at Thanksgiving.

68 percent strongly agree that it creates memories for them and/or their children.

61 percent strongly feel being with family and friends over the holidays helps them reconnect with loved ones and build relationships.

The 41 million people forecast to travel for Thanksgiving this year is essentially the same number that traveled in 2006.

The Travel Industry Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $740 billion travel industry. TIA is proud to be a partner in travel with American Express. For more information, visit www.tia.org.

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