Consumer Payment Card News

Summer of 2002

Most Americans have shaken off travel concerns over 9/11, giving the leisure travel industry a much needed boost. However, many consumers are opting for shorter, “power” weekend trips. According to the 2002 American Express Leisure Travel Index, 54% of survey respondents say they plan to travel at least as much this year as last year, and another 25% expect to travel more; only 19% will travel less. In total, 62% of Americans say they will take a leisure trip this year, up from 55% in 2001. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the events of September 11th will have little or no effect on their vacation planning this year. On average, travelers expect to spend $2,031 on airfare, accommodations, sightseeing, meals, souvenirs, and other expenses for vacations of five or more days–seven percent less than the $2,173 spent in 2001. However, according to the Index, the average number of vacations in 2002 will be 1.7, up from 1.5 in 2001. When asked how they will pay for their vacations, respondents indicated that credit cards remain the most popular form of payment for airfare (54%), hotels (58%), and car rentals (55%). And while cash is the preferred payment method for dining out (63%) and souvenirs (69%), credit card use is increasing for gasoline (31%, up from 26% in 2001) and sightseeing expenses (24% vs.15% last year). For more information on American Express, visit www.americanexpress.com.

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