AUSTIN, Texas -- The Travel Industry Association of America forecasts that overall traveler spending by domestic and international visitors will increase 4.4% in 2004 to $568 billion, up from $544 billion in 2003. In 2005, the TIA predicts, travel spending will surpass the record set in 2000.
The TIA presented its annual travel forecast at its Marketing Outlook Forum, held here last month.
This year, two of the hardest hit segments in the travel industry, domestic business travel volume and international inbound travel to the U.S., will once again see year-over-year declines of 3.7% and 4%, respectively, the TIA reported. But the outlook for both segments is more positive for 2004 and 2005.
U.S. residents are expected to take more than 122 million business trips in 2004, representing an improvement of 4.3% from 2003. In 2005, business travel will increase 3.5% to nearly 127 million trips, the TIA predicted.
"It's clearly good news that business travel will show an up tick in volume next year," said TIA President and CEO William S. Norman at the forum. "The question remains, Has the decline in business travel bottomed out? What is certain is that it will be some time before business travel returns to its peak levels of the late 1990s."