MMGY: 2016 shaping up to be ‘remarkably positive’ year for travel

NEW YORK — MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers, unveiled Wednesday evening, suggests 2016 will be a record year for travel, barring any unpredictable disruptors.

MMGY executives presented some key data findings during an event at the New York Times building here.

Two-thirds of U.S. travelers are planning at least one leisure trip this year that requires overnight lodging, said Peter Yesawich, MMGY’s partner, industry insights; on average, they are planning four trips.

While that number remains the same from last year, the number of people traveling for business has increased by 12%.

“The outlook is incredibly positive, because you’ve got very robust demand from leisure travelers; you’ve got remarkable growth in demand from business travelers,” Yesawich said.

The data was from MMGY’s quarterly “travelhorizons” survey, which studies travelers’ intentions, using a sample of 2,300 households of active travelers that are 18 years old and older.

Steve Cohen, vice president of research and insights, said that a separate, annual study, which surveys travelers with household income level over $50,000, showed that the amount travelers are spending is also up.

The average amount travelers plan to spend on vacations this year was $5,048, compared with $4,526 spent in 2015 and $3,874 in 2010.

Additionally, Cohen said, the annual data shows the number of travelers who intend to travel more is on the rise. According to the study’s summary, 28% of travelers said they intend to take more vacations, and 14% said they plan to take fewer vacations.

“This means there is a 14-point positive variance in the market’s intention to vacation during the next 12 months, representing a 10-year high that surpasses the previous record, a pre-recession 11-point increase in travel intentions reported in 2007 and 2008,” the summary states.

The data, Cohen said, suggests a “record year” for travel.

Yesawich said that only a major, unpredictable disruptor, like an act of domestic terrorism, could shift the tide; barring that, he said 2016 was shaping up to be a “remarkably positive” year for travel.

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