Travel Trends

Overall Travel Bookings up 3 Percent as Cruise, Tour Bookings Surge Higher

Another strong month of cruise and tour bookings - both up 10 percent from 2002 levels - pushed AAA's overall travel bookings to a 3 percent increase this November compared to a year ago.

AAA The monthly AAA National Travel Barometer shows the sixth straight month of increased travel agency bookings, led by large increases in cruise and vacation tour bookings that are offset by slight drops in hotel and car rental bookings.

"Travelers continue to find values in cruises and tour packages," said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes. "Positive economic news during recent weeks has had Americans feeling good about making plans for winter travel."

The AAA National Travel Barometer is based on a sample of AAA's local travel agencies covering more than half of AAA's 46 million members. It is intended to help gauge the strength of the leisure travel market. Overall AAA travel agency bookings reported in the Barometer - cruise, tour packages, car rentals and hotel bookings - increased slightly in November (103,700) as compared to a year ago (100,300).

A summary of the Barometer's measurements shows:

-- Cruise bookings (24,500) were at 110 percent of one year ago (22,300);

-- Tour packages (30,500) were 110 percent of the October 2002 total (27,800);

-- Car rental reservations (15,800) were at 98 percent of a year ago (16,200); and

-- Hotel bookings (32,800) were at 96 percent of one year ago (34,100).

Visits to AAA travel offices at the clubs surveyed were at 97 percent (96,900) of their level in November 2002 (99,700).

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its more than 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the nor-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.



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