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Date: Mon, 17 June 2002
From: TInews Announcement <announce@tinet.ita.doc.gov>
To: TInews Announcement <tiannounce@tinet.ita.doc.gov>
Subject:

UK Travel Recovery Barometer Results Released

=== TINEWS ===================================

An information service from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI)
http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/
U.S. International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

June, 17 2002

UK Travel Recovery Barometer Results Released

2002 UK Travel Recovery Barometer Survey for Winter, Spring, and Summer Travel Demand

On May 3, 2002 the U.S. Department of Commerce, ITA, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) released the results of the second UK Travel Recovery Barometer Survey. The Barometer program is a tool for industry to help provide a short-term forecast on travel demand from the UK to the United States. The UK Travel Recovery Barometer program was conducted as a partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, the U.S. Commercial Service - UK, and the Visit USA Association UK (Ltd). The survey, conducted in March and April 2002, gathered input from the UK travel trade for travel demand to the United States. The survey covers winter bookings and inquiries, and spring and summer travel demand.

The UK Travel Recovery Barometer program was launched after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which brought into view its tremendous impact on travel and tourism, especially the international segment. The Barometer is a qualitative gauge of travel demand from the UK travel trade's point of view. The first survey highlighted just how clearly outbound travel was derailed from the September 11 attacks. The second survey was launched to monitor the recovery for winter, spring, and summer travel demand to the U.S. based on the UK travel trade's business conditions. A third survey will be launched at the beginning of June 2002.

The results forecast that a recovery (to positive growth) may not be fully realized by summer 2002. However, the contraction will be minimized. According to the UK trade, bookings and inquiries continued to grow during the winter months as safety concerns for traveling abated. "I am pleased to see that the UK Travel Recovery Barometer results mirror the preliminary visitation figures reported for December 2001. This shows how closely the UK travel trade is tied to what is happening in the UK travel market. It also provides confidence in the Barometer results for spring and summer travel demand," said Helen Marano, Director of OTTI.

UK Travel Trade Barometer Highlights:

  • The majority of the Barometer respondents reported bookings decreased for travel to the U.S. in December, compared to a year ago. Official preliminary arrivals reported that travel dropped 16 percent in December 2001, compared to December 2000. The travel trade also indicated that January bookings decreased while a small percentage (16%) of the trade indicated bookings increased. Additionally, nearly one-quarter (24%) of the respondents indicated that inquiries increased for travel to the U.S. in January 2002, compared to a year ago, and cancellations were about the same as the previous year.

  • February and March bookings and inquiries decreased, according to the majority of trade. However, one-fifth (20%) of the respondents indicated both bookings and inquiries increased, compared to a year ago. Approximately half of the trade listed cancellations to be about the same compared to travel during the same months in 2001 - this is a positive indicator that the severe negative impacts of the September attacks may be short lived.

  • Nearly one-third (32%) of the trade indicated outbound long-haul travel (outside Western Europe) for travel this spring (April - June) is expected to be about the same compared to spring travel in 2001. By comparison, nearly half (48%) of the trade indicated that demand to travel to the U.S. in the spring of 2002 to be lower. However, one-quarter (24%) listed travel demand to be about the same, and 16 percent indicated travel is expected to be higher, based on their business activity.

  • Independent travel is likely to bounce back faster than package travel in 2002, according to the UK trade participating in the barometer survey. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of the trade indicated a higher demand for independent travel in the spring of 2002, while only 4 percent of the trade listed a higher demand for package travel in the spring of 2002, compared to the same travel period in 2001.

  • Nearly one-quarter (24%) of the UK travel trade indicated travel demand to the U.S. to be higher this summer, compared to summer travel last year. However, nearly half (48%) indicated demand for travel to the U.S. to be lower, compared to summer travel in 2001. Independent travel was also listed to be higher by one-quarter (24%) of the respondents, and 4 percent indicated it to be much higher compared to summer travel last year. By comparison, only 8 percent of the respondents indicated a higher demand for package travel this summer compared to summer travel in 2001.

  • The top barrier to travel for spring and summer travel was perceived concerns about safety in traveling to the U.S., followed closely by the exchange rate with the U.S. Dollar. Trade indicated that perceived safety in traveling to the U.S. would drop off as the top barrier by next year, and that the exchange rate and UK economy would replace safety concerns as the top barrier to travel.

  • Trade indicated that the top actions needed to increase visitor demand to the U.S. this summer were an improved exchange rate to the U.S. Dollar, lower airfares, and increased promotions by U.S. destinations and businesses.

  • The top competitive destinations for travel this spring and summer included Africa, followed by Australia/New Zealand. Western Europe was likely the third most demanded competitive travel destination for travel this spring and summer.

  • The UK trade were asked about the coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, and if it affected interest in traveling to the U.S.? The majority (72%) of respondents indicated that coverage made no change in the interest in traveling to the U.S., and a small percentage (12%) indicated it somewhat increased interest.

  • Twenty-five UK travel trade businesses responded to the survey out of a base of 55 companies. The survey respondents were made up of tour operators (56%), destination marketing representatives (16%), both destination and corporate marketing representatives (12%), corporate marketing representatives (8%), retail travel agents (4%), and information centers (4%). Nearly all (92%) of their business activity focused on sales, and bookings and inquiries both were listed by 28 percent of the trade (based on a multiple response question).

To access the full results of the UK Travel Recovery Barometer, visit the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries web site at http://tinet.ita.doc.gov, enter the Recovery Center, then click into the Travel Recovery Barometer pages. The next survey will be conducted in June 2002. UK travel trade are encouraged to register and participate in the June survey. For details visit http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/recovery.

To learn more about the preliminary December and annual 2001 arrivals, and the January 2001 arrivals, go to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries web site at http://tinet.ita.doc.gov and click into the monthly arrivals section.

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Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 7025
Washington, D.C. 20230
(202) 482-0140, fax: (202) 482-2887
e-mail: otti@trade.gov

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