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2007 — A Look Ahead

January 2, 2007

2007 – A Look Ahead
Jan. 2, 2006 –As we welcome in 2007, many in the travel industry are making their travel trend predictions. Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell recently announced several projections for the year ahead, including the continued trend of tour suppliers offering fewer discounts. YPB&R said it expects suppliers to continue passing on higher rates in the New Year, due in part to the continued growth of leisure travel.

YPB&R said that leisure travel will continue to outpace business travel. We will see a spike in Internet bookings, "but at a significantly lower rate than we have observed during the past three years." Suppliers will lean towards bundled, "inclusive pricing" and cruising a spa and wellness travel will continue to grow.

According to the Travel Industry Association’s "Voice of the Traveler" survey from last fall, 54 percent of travelers said they were interested in going to a spa or a place where they could relax and rejuvenate, and 28 percent said they were more interested in a spa vacation now than they were five years ago. The newest spa trend for 2007, according to Travel + Leisure magazine, is a "longevity retreat" with a focus on medical testing and advice at a destination spa.

YPB&R said "lifestyle" hotel brands such as NYLO and aloft, Starwood’s W Hotels offshoot, will gain in popularity as generation X, now referred to as "Millennials" continue to be a larger portion of the travel market.

Another trend to watch according to YPB&R is family travel, which became particularly noticeable after Sept. 11. YPB&R forecasts that it "will continue to grow at a faster rate than all other forms of leisure travel," as part of a larger trend, in which families of all generations are increasingly attempting to reconnect with each other.

Asia will be popular in the New Year. China was No. 1 on Lonely Planet’s annual list of hot destinations and it placed first for the country representing the best value for the dollar in a survey of members of USTAO. Southeast Asia ranked as the hottest up-and-coming area for packaged travel, with the No. 2 spot going to China, India and Croatia in a three-way tie.

The first nine months of 2006 showed air travel to Asia by U.S. citizens was up 7 percent over the same period in 2005, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, compared to a 4 percent growth in travel to Europe.

Lonely Planet’s survey ranked the United States as No. 2 after China. Hawaii, New Orleans, and New York City’s Brooklyn were among those U.S. cities mentioned. Morocco, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Nicaragua, Spain Greece, Cuba, Mexico and India also were on the list.

Frommer’s also released their list of top destinations for 2007, beginning with Krakow, Poland, followed by Tokyo; Minneapolis; Panama; Asheville, N.C.; Ethiopia; Portland, Ore.; Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands; Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada; Glen Canyon, Utah; Zurich, Switzerland; and Portland, Maine.

River cruising in Europe is another trend to watch. Tom Armstrong of Tauck World Discovery said sales for Tauck’s 2007 European river cruises are 60 percent higher than where they were last year at this time.

Some believe that the new passport rules, set to go into effect Jan. 23 of this year, will affect travel patterns.

"There will be an increase in travel to places like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands among places in the Caribbean because people who did not get their act together and get their passports, they’ll be affected by the new rules," predicted Amy Ziff, editor-in-chief of Travelocity. She said the changes will be most noticeable once people start planning their spring break trips.

The new regulations could be particularly hard on travel to Canada, according to the Maritz Hospitality Research Group, which provided statistics indicating that by the end of 2008, new passport requirements will lead U.S. residents to make 7.7 million fewer visits to Canada.

Voluntourism is expected to grow in 2007. TIA’s "Voice of the Traveler" survey found that 24 percent of travelers are interested in taking a volunteer or service-based

NTA would like to hear your thoughts about the New Year. What is one thing you are planning on doing differently in 2007 from a business standpoint? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about business in the year ahead?

Please send your responses to Courier Editor in Chief Penny Mullinix via e-mail at Your thoughts may be used in upcoming articles in Courier or Tuesday.

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