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November 9, 2009 Industry News

US Airways Plans February 2010 Service Changes

US Airways will make several changes to its Phoenix February 2010 schedule. Effective February 12, 2010, US Airways will enhance its service between Phoenix and Mexico.   US Airways will add one additional flight between Phoenix and Mexico City bringing the daily total to two flights.  The airline will also add one additional flight between Phoenix and Guadalajara, bringing the daily total to three flights.

Effective February 11, 2010, US Airways will no longer provide nonstop service between Phoenix and Washington Dulles (IAD) and Raleigh/Durham (RDU).  The airline has served both markets with once daily service.  The decision to discontinue the service is due to both routes underperforming.  Nonstop service between Phoenix and both markets will continue to be provided by United (IAD) and Southwest (RDU).

Travel Leaders Reports $84 Million in New Business Accounts During Q3

Travel Leaders says its wholly-owned and franchised locations won more than $83.7 million in new business during the third quarter. For the first nine months of the year, new business accounts totaled $243.9 million. (Special to TA; Travel Advance, November 03)

International Spending Down 21% in August

The Commerce Department says that international visitors spent an estimated $9.9 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of August--an increase of 1% over July 2009. However, when compared to the same period last year, international visitor spending is down more than 21% for the month. Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the U.S. totaled $7.8 billion for the month, a decrease of more than 20% in comparison with last year.

These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the U.S. and other items incidental to foreign travel. Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors decreased nearly 25% to $2.1 billion for the month, a decrease of more than $700 million when compared to August 2008. August 2009 marks the 10th straight month in which U.S. travel and tourism-related exports were lower when compared to the same period of the previous year. (Special to TA; Travel Advance, November 04)

Egencia Sees Air Ticket Prices Rising in Key Markets

Egencia projects that average airline ticket prices will increase next year in nearly all top North American business travel markets, with some cities even expected to experience double-digit percentage-point hikes, according to its 2010 Corporate Travel Forecast and Hotel Negotiability Index, released Tuesday. The online travel management company expects negotiated North American airfares for the top business travel markets to rise an average of 5% to 10% from 2009 levels. It predicts the largest increases for Seattle, at 10%, Philadelphia at 11%, Phoenix at 12%, and San Diego at 16%.

Egencia attributed the expected price increases to a predicted rise in corporate travel demand, airline capacity reductions, carrier consolidation and continued price inflation. On the hotel side, Egencia predicts a continuation of a strong buyer's market across North America, except for Boston and Washington, D.C. Average daily hotel rates in the top North American business travel destinations are expected on average to be flat or drop by as much as 5% from 2009 levels.  In the U.S. car-rental sector, the travel management company projects a 5% decrease in daily rates. (www.BTNOnline.com, 11/3; Travel Advance, November 04)

Survey: Associations Adding Social Media into Events

Eighty-three percent of associations currently are using one or more digital tools to market and execute their events, although most are not using these tools to their full potential, according to a new survey from Champion Exposition Services, a San Francisco-based event and trade show marketing firm. The survey, which asked associations about their use and adoption of social media tools, found that 91% plan to use one or more digital tools in the next 12 months, and that 66% plan to incorporate more digital tools and experiences into future events.

According to the Champion Survey, social networks, such as Facebook (67%), Twitter (54%) and Linkedln (48%), are the most common digital tools employed by associations, 69% of which cited shifting attendee behavior as the reason they're incorporating digital tools into their events. (www.MiMegasite.com, 11/3; Travel Advance, November 04)

Free Day at National Parks for Veterans!

To honor America’s service men and women, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that areas managed by the department will not charge entrance fees on Wednesday, November 11, 2009. Visitors to public recreation lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation are invited to take a day to honor and reflect on what our service men and women have done to maintain our freedom and keep peace around the world, Salazar said. “The Department of the Interior is honored to offer this fee free day to thank our nation’s service men and women,” said Salazar said “The sacrifices and achievements of the brave men and women of our armed forces can never be understated. We invite all of our visitors to enjoy this fee free day and take time out on this national holiday to remember our service men and women who are currently serving overseas in harms way. " The Department of Agriculture also is waiving entrance fees at its national forests.

Global Travelers Rank U.S. No. 1

After trailing perennial favorite Australia, the U.S. earned the No.1 spot for the first time in this year's Country Brand Index, an online survey of international business and vacation travelers that ranks how countries are perceived. The 2009 report, from the FutureBrand consulting firm, attributes some of the U.S.'s previous slump to anti-U.S. sentiment worldwide and credits the "Obama effect" for much of its jump in status.  But while the U.S. earns top marks as a country that is "ideal for business," it's outshined in many of the 29 specific brand categories-for example behind Japan and the U.K. for nightlife and Singapore for shopping

And the burnished image hasn't translated to a boost in tourism. The Commerce Department predicts an 8% drop in international visitors this year. Rounding out the top 10 country brands: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Japan, U.K., Germany and Spain. (Page 4D, USA Today; Travel Advance, November 06)

U.S.  Travel Industry to Add 90,000 Jobs in 2010

The U.S. Travel Association says that modest increases in leisure, business and international inbound travel in 2010 will enable the industry to add nearly 90,000 American jobs. Leisure travel is expected to rise 2.0%, business travel is projected to increase by 2.5% and international inbound travel will increase by 3.0%. These job gains come on the heels of 400,000 combined travel industry job losses in 2008 and 2009, said U.S. Travel. The travel industry is uniquely capable of adapting to economic upswings and quickly adding tens of thousands of jobs, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. (www.TravelPulse.com, 11/5; Special to TA; Travel Advance, November 06)

U.S. House of Representatives Passed Travel Promotion Act

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Travel Promotion Act (again), keeping momentum moving for it being signed into law. The legislation now goes to the Senate for final consideration and passage before being sent to President Obama. The timeline for Senate passage is still unknown. The Travel Promotion Act has now passed the House three times in the past 14 months, and the Senate in September already approved the bill by a strong bipartisan vote, 79-19. "We are confident we will gain final passage of this legislation, which will do so much to help our economy and the travel community," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "We look forward to enactment of this important legislation by the Senate."

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