The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) held its annual Legislative Day last week in Washington, D.C., putting travel advisor leaders in front of Members of Congress to discuss problems affecting their companies, work-life balance, and their customers’ travel experiences.
Despite the economic downturn, consumers are spending more on travel than on anything else, with 67 % planning to travel before the end of the year. Furthermore, 41% of customers want to increase their trip spending in 2023.
As a consequence of the increased demand and the new reality of traveling, 71 % of customers believe that travel is becoming more difficult. Similarly, per the ASTA’s research, nearly half of travelers (45 %) feel that hiring a professional travel adviser will set their minds at ease. The cancellation of the U.S. inbound testing order also boosted the travel agency community, with about 80% of travel advisers informing ASTA that their sales will improve compared to the first half of the year.
According to ASTA, while some bright spots have begun to appear, the truth remains that economic and industrial challenges are exerting pressure on all aspects of the travel sector.
Although over 80% of Americans think that travel is a vital engine of the US economy, the interruptions in the air travel system over the weekend show that we are far from equipped to accommodate the rise in demand.
There is also anxiety about inflation; while trip spending is increasing, this might be readily explained by rising costs. According to ASTA, the number of passengers concerned about inflation has more than quadrupled by 2022. Per the ASTA, Americans spend $512 per person per day on travel, an 11 % increase over 2019. Globally, consumer prices have risen by more than 9%.