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RISMEDIA, June 24, 2010—While economic news may still not be great, the hallmark of the season – the summer vacation, may not be completely in jeopardy. Two-thirds (66%) of Americans are planning to take a summer vacation this year. This closely mirrors data from 2009, when 65% were planning a summer vacation.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,503 adults surveyed online between May 10 and 17, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

In addition, roughly one-fifth (19%) of Americans are planning to take at least one business trip this summer, a slight reduction from 2009 when 23% planned one or more business trips.

While they may be on the move, many travelers say that current economic conditions continue to alter how they travel:
-Almost one-quarter (22%) plan to decrease the number of leisure trips they will make by car;
-Nearly three out of ten (28%) say they’ll take fewer plane trips for leisure;
-One-quarter (25%) will cut their number of weekend trips;
-Slightly over one-quarter (27%) will reduce the duration of their vacations; and,
-About one-third (32%) plan to reduce the amount of money they will spend on vacation.

Spending on vacations
Those planning at least one trip this summer will spend an average of $1,627 on travel in the coming months. However, those planning to reduce the amount of money they spend this summer aren’t necessarily sacrificing their vacations.

-More than half are hoping to economize their leisure travel this summer by finding less expensive activities (56%) or meal options (54%)
-Slightly less than half will seek out less expensive accommodations (46%) or will vacation closer to home (46%)
-About two in five are also hoping to reduce travel costs by staying with family and friends instead of at a hotel (41%) or by driving instead of flying (42%).

Glimmers of recovery
While the data shows that the economy continues to impact summer travel plans, when compared to the same survey conducted this time in 2009, there are some positive glimmers of recovery:

-This year, 36% report that they are less likely to travel over the summer due to the economy – a larger percentage of consumers (41%) were less likely to travel last summer.
-In 2010, fewer consumers report that they plan to cut back on the number of trips they will take, the duration of their trips and the amount they will spend.

So What?
According to Allison Powell, Research Director of Harris Interactive’s Travel and Tourism practice: “While the economy is clearly continuing to change the way consumers vacation, they are not willing to postpone their summer vacation plans altogether. This is great news for those in the travel industry; it is important to be especially mindful of consumers who are looking to cut costs – offering deals to consumers will be especially important this summer. The glimmer of recovery is also promising – consumers will vacation, the economy will not change this and things are beginning to improve.”

However, Powell continues that “the decision recently made by many major airlines to add surcharges on flights over the summer may not bode well for them given these price-conscious consumers. Surcharges range from $10 to $30 per ticket, depending on the day of travel. Given how quickly this can add up for a family vacation, it will be interesting to see how this will impact actual travel behavior.”

For more information, visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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