Labor Day Travelers Projected to Spend $13.5 Billion
September 2, 2015 8:13am
But Infrastructure Woes Leave Another $1.7 Billion on the Table
WASHINGTON (September 2, 2015)—Each American taking a trip for the Labor Day long weekend is expected to spend an average of $380 on goods and services, according to a survey and analysis released by the U.S. Travel Association.
With AAA projecting that 35.5 million Americans will take to the roads and skies over the holiday, that calculates to $13.5 billion travelers will pour into the U.S. economy—up two percent over 2014.
However, U.S. Travel's survey found that hassles caused by failing surface and air travel infrastructure will keep 4.1 million potential travelers at home—costing the economy $1.4 billion in spending.
And with Congress unable to pass long-term bills on the nation's highways and air travel system—both due this year—the problem will persist and grow worse for Labor Days to come.
The survey, conducted for U.S. Travel by the firm TNS, found that even among those who plan to travel this weekend, 8.7 percent will stay fewer days and 9.1 percent will travel shorter distances due to concerns over road congestion and flying headaches. Factoring in those shortened trips, the total Labor Day economic cost of hassles due to infrastructure rises to $1.7 billion.
"The old adage holds true: Americans vote with their pocketbooks—and in this case, they're voting against how Washington has handled our transportation policy," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "We've seen time and again that travel dollars are among the most economically stimulating, job-creating dollars there are. The lack of a long-term strategy for our highways and air travel system has created the perception for many that they're better off staying home.
"Our infrastructure problems go way beyond mere inconvenience—they're causing economic harm, and we need a long-term vision for tackling them."
Trip spending by auto travelers is expected to average $270, according to U.S. Travel's survey. With AAA projecting 30.4 million travelers by car, that totals out to $8.2 billion—an increase of 0.5 percent over 2014. The fact that the spending figure will increase at all is significant, say U.S. Travel Association researchers, given that gasoline is considerably cheaper than a year ago.
Expected trip spending by air travelers is significantly higher at $1,090 on average, for a total weekend spending figure of $2.9 billion—a year-over-year increase of 4.9 percent—based on AAA's projection of 2.6 million air travelers.
The remaining $2.4 billion in predicted Labor Day spending will come from the 2.5 million Americans expected to travel by "other means."
Dow notes that Congress was due to pass both a surface transportation bill and the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration this year, but that progress on both pieces of legislation has been disappointing. Work on the FAA bill has been delayed until late September at the earliest, and lawmakers recessed for August having only managed to pass a very short-term fix for highways.
Dow pointed to the just-released rankings of global airports put out annually by Skytrax, in which the U.S. boasted just a single airport in the top 30 (Cincinnati, #30) and all of four in the top 50. This, he said, is costing the U.S. economy dearly both in terms of domestic and international travel.
Dow called on House and Senate leaders to redouble their efforts on a long-term highways measure, and to pass an FAA bill that cuts airline ticket taxes and fundamentally shifts the system to a user fee-based finding model—which would channel more funds to projects that would relieve congestion and increase airline competition.
u.s. travel association,
labor day travel forecast
Contact: Cathy Keefe
Contact: Jamie Morris
Travel Trends Index: International Inbound Travel Growth Projected to Fizzle in First Half of 2019
AAA: One-in-Three Americans Will Travel This Holiday Season, the Most on Record
Travel Trends Index: Gloomy Six-Month International Projections Overshadow Domestic Travel Gains
Travel Oregon’s Davidson, Atlanta CVB’s Richardson Inducted Into U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders
More Than 54 Million Americans to Travel This Thanksgiving, the Most Since 2005, Says AAA
U.S. Travel Election Reax
Travel Trends Index: Domestic Market Softens; Storm Clouds Gather for International
Travel Trends Index: Domestic Travel a Bright Spot, but Int'l Inbound Projected to Decelerate
Industry Execs Talk International Travel With President Trump, Senior Aides
Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association Names Michael Jacobson President and Chief Executive Officer
U.S. Travel Honors Tourism Marketers at ESTO
Travel Trends Index: Strength of Domestic Travel Lessens Sting of Sluggish International Growth
Todd Davidson and Spurgeon Richardson to Be Inducted into U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders
Travel Trends Index: Domestic Business Travel Projected to Outpace Leisure Segment
AAA: Nearly 47 Million Americans Will Set New Independence Day Holiday Travel Record
U.S. Travel Responds to Report that Trump Assisted U.S. Bid to Co-Host World Cup
Travel Trends Index: Business Travel Thriving as Travel Expands for 100th Straight Month
AAA: Nearly 42 Million Americans Will Kick Off Summer with a Memorial Day Getaway - The Most in More Than a Dozen Years
Eight Hotels Join AAA's Prestigious Five Diamond List for 2018
Visit U.S. Coalition Launches Amid Drop in U.S. Share of Global Travel
Please login or register to post a comment.