As the events of Sept. 11 recede into the past, Americans are again feeling itchy to see new places. For now, the slow economy exerts more of a drag on travel plans than do fears about safety. These facts emerge from the Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown/Yankelovich Partners 2002 National Travel Monitor. If the intentions reflected in the chart are realized, the report calculates it will mean a 6 percent increase in leisure travel this year vs. last. Business travelers are “even more optimistic” in describing their road-trip intentions: The number of them planning to travel more is roughly double the number who expect to travel less. If these plans become reality, the report forecasts an 8 percent rise in the number of business trips this year vs. last. Among respondents who do expect to travel less on business, “the economy is by far the major concern,” cited by 37 percent of this cohort. Scarcely any admitted to staying put because they feel it’s unsafe to fly. Even among leisure travelers, a mere4 percent said they feel that way. While new security measures have eased fears, this comes at a price. Thirty-two percent of business travelers said the procedures make air travel “a big hassle”; 18 percent fly less because of it. Among other tidbits from the report: 81 percent of respondents said they want to see vacation spots they’ve never visited before. On the other hand, the list of specific “dream destinations” is full of familiar names. The domestic faves: Florida, California, Colorado, Hawaii and Arizona. Western Europe, Australia and the Caribbean are the overseas ideals. An intrepid (or oblivious) 6 percent cited the Middle East as their dream destination.
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