Upsurge in US travel bookings


American hoteliers and restaurateurs are slashing prices in the midst of the recession, leading to a US tourism bookings boom, according to cheap flight specialist DialAFlight. As the pound hit US$1.60 this week, businesses suffering the worst season for years are offering considerable deals to the spendthrift traveler in an attempt to lure them out of credit hibernation.

Major carriers are announcing bargain fares and upgrades, and extra nights and rock-bottom room rates are being offered by hotels across the states in an attempt to kick start the industry, following the biggest global recession in decades.

The first three months of 2009 saw inbound tourist spending on Visa cards total US$11 billion, down from US$12.9 billion in 2008. However, the US remains a hugely-popular destination. Seventy-nine percent of surveyed tourists have visited multiple times, and three out of four respondents believe they are likely to visit the US in the next two years, with travelers from Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and Japan being the most likely to return.

The Visa report confirms DialAFlight’s findings that, while tourists may research and plan their trips with more financial caution, their hunger for a bargain will win out over abstinence.

According to Bill Sheedy, president of Visa in North America, “The US continues to be a major source market for global tourism. Americans’ travel intentions have not diminished for 2009 and 2010. However, travelers are increasingly price sensitive and seeking greater value when planning travel. As travelers are discerning in their choice of destinations and time of year for travel, Visa’s insight into tourist behavior and attitudes in the US and globally can support the tourism providers in capturing tourism revenues.”