Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good News/Bad News about the Rising Cost of Gasoline: Forecasting its Impact upon Travel

It's difficult to determine these days whether the global economic downturn (aka the "R" word) is improving, or whether the overall picture still looks rather bleak for the foreseeable future.

There are some indications that various sectors are showing signs of growth, but it seems to be two-steps forward, one step backward -- or vice versa, depending upon whether the travel industry analysts see the gas tank as being "half-full" or "half-empty".

The following commentary is excerpted from an article by David Wilkening which appeared in the April 27, 2011 online issue of Travelmole.  We have included here because clearly, the access to and cost of, fuel is an issue relevant to forecasting travel trends and the overall health of the travel industry.  Wilkening's full article may be read on Travelmole under "News", at

With gas prices above $4 in some states, some North American travelers are cancelling vacations and re-thinking summer travel plans, but on the other hand, the cost of gas could spur the growth of local tourism.
“Despite high gas prices and increasing airfares, a new survey from HomeAway, Inc., finds the majority of Americans still plan to take a summer vacation, but will adjust their plans in light of rising costs,” says the group.

According to a special summer edition of the “HomeAway® Vacation Rental Marketplace Report,” 81 percent of respondents report they will take a vacation this summer. Of those who typically take a summer vacation each year, 38 percent will not change their vacation plans, saying increased gasoline prices and airfares will not affect their travel. The rest of those surveyed will alter travel plans in some way to counteract rising costs, including:
Short regional trip in Texas: San Antonio Riverwalk
©Snobby Tours®, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
---Vacationing closer to home (27 percent)
---Cutting back on other travel expenses such as lodging, entertainment and dining out (20 percent)
---Vacationing for fewer days (13 percent)
---Making other changes to their travel plans (3 percent)
“This survey shows that people still plan to take a summer vacation, but they also need to find ways to combat the high costs of traveling to a destination,” said Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway. 

Most travel observers envision travelers tending to stay closer to home this summer, particularly if gas prices continue to escalate, but not all agree with the findings.
If gas were to go to US$5 a gallon and stay there, some analysts think it could erase the gains the economy is making and tip the nation back into recession, because Americans would sharply curtail spending elsewhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.