Travel expected to increase this summer

Sunday, May 29, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Leisure travel will increase more than 2 percent this summer, with 328 million Americans expected to head for a destination more than 50 miles from home, compared to 320 million last summer, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.

"Every sector of the travel industry will be up, up, up," said Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the nonprofit organization, which bases its travel forecast on an annual survey of 1,000 Americans.

Florida, California, Nevada and New York are the places travelers would most like to visit this summer, the survey found.

Air travel is expected to increase 4 percent, and despite high gas prices, 17 percent of Americans plan to use an RV this summer. Sixteen percent of vacationers will go to an all-inclusive resort, and 16 percent will travel outside the United States. Ten percent say they'll take a cruise.

The statistics also show that while Americans are taking more short trips, the amount of time they're spending away from home on their longest trip has decreased a half-day, to an average seven-night stay.

The top three activities for summer vacations are visiting friends and relatives (75 percent); going to a beach or lake (70 percent); and visiting small towns or rural areas (64 percent).

Visiting cities is on the agenda for 54 percent of vacationers; 47 percent plan to visit national or state parks, and 41 percent will visit historic sites. Thirty-six percent will go fishing, 35 percent will attend a family reunion and 34 percent will go to a performing arts event.

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