Hotel Online  Special Report

The Travel Industry Association of America's Quarterly
Traveler Sentiment Index Declined Nearly 5% in
2nd Qtr 2004; Concerns About the
Affordability of Travel
WASHINGTON, DC --  The Travel Industry Association of America's (TIA) quarterly Traveler Sentiment Index declined nearly 5 percent in second quarter 2004, to 97.4, despite a very positive showing last quarter. The decline was primarily driven by concerns about the affordability of travel, which isn't surprising considering travel prices and fuel prices are steadily increasing after being stagnant for the past few years. While interest in leisure travel remains high, consumers were also more negative this quarter about having enough time and money to take leisure trips.

"Despite the decrease this quarter, we still expect 2004 to be a strong year for all areas of travel. It's important to remember that overall traveler sentiment is still higher than it was in all of 2003," remarked Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association of America.

Among all five index components, the affordability index experienced the biggest decrease (-18.3%), falling to 96.6 and standing at its lowest point since first quarter 2001. While the index measuring the ability to travel based on personal finances stands at 85.5, down 8.5 percent from last quarter, it's still higher than it was for all of 2003 and part of 2002. The index measuring the ability to travel based on free time fell nearly 6 percent to 96.3. General interest in taking pleasure trips continues to steadily rise; now standing at 102.3. Consumers are also more positive this quarter about the quality of service received while traveling, with that index rising to 105.1.

Due to industry concerns about the threat of terrorism, TIA began to measure consumer perceptions about travel safety starting with the fourth quarter 2001 (October) survey. While travel safety is not a component of the Traveler Sentiment Index, it can be indexed by itself against the baseline of fourth quarter 2001. The travel safety index now stands at 119.8, up significantly from the fourth quarter of 2001 (+19.8%).

When the overall Traveler Sentiment Index is examined on a regional basis, the Northeast shows the most decline, falling nearly 11 percent this quarter over last. Across all regions, the "affordability" index shows significant declines from the first quarter, most notably in the West (-25.2%).

Members of the media can obtain TIA's latest Traveler Sentiment Index report, including additional analysis and charts for each index, by sending an e-mail to

TIA's quarterly Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI) is conducted four times per year and is a running gauge of consumers' interest in leisure travel and their perceived ability to travel. The study consists of five criteria: interest, time, finances, affordability, and service quality. The TSI is based on quarterly interviews with approximately 1,000 U.S. adults who have taken at least one trip in the past year. Each criterion is measured individually and then combined to create an overall index score. The baseline year for the Index is the year 2000.

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.


Cathy Keefe 

Also See: California Ranks Number One in Spending by Domestic Travelers, Florida Number One in Spending by International Travelers / December 2003
Negative Perceptions Regarding Affordability Offset Gains in TIA’s Traveler Sentiment Index for Second Quarter 2002 / April 2002

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