Despite high unemployment and a slow economic recovery, more people are planning to travel this year and they expect to spend more money than they did in 2010, according to a new report.
Thirty-five percent of 1,403 consumers surveyed by travel website travelocity.com said they will increase their travel in 2011, and only one percent said they do not plan to go anywhere, compared to four percent last year.
"Judging from the number of respondents who say they intend to both travel and spend more in the coming year, the travel industry could see continued growth in 2011," said Hugh Jones, president and CEO of Travelocity Global.
More than a quarter of people said they would spend $2,000 or more on their holidays this year, up from 20 percent in 2010. While roughly half expect to keep their travel budget largely unchanged from last year, 37 percent said they will dig deeper into their pockets in 2011.
The survey will be welcomed by airlines battling higher oil prices and travel agents concerned that unrest in popular holiday destinations like Egypt and Tunisia might deter vacationers this year.
While the percentage of those planning to increase their travel in 2011 didn't grow as strongly as it did last year, when 49 percent of people said they aimed to travel more as the economy rebounded, those planning to reduce their travel fell.
This year, just 5 percent of people plan on traveling less, down from 7 percent in 2010.
Airfares are about 8 percent higher this year, according to Travelocity, but 34 percent of respondents to the poll said they intended to spend more on their flights, slightly more than the number planning to splash out more on hotels.
Just over 70 percent said they were looking at package trips in a bid to save money, down from 76 percent in 2009.
But the trend for booking "opaque" hotels — where travel websites offer large discounts but expect travelers to book without knowing the hotel name and other details — hasn't caught on in a big way.
Only 10 percent of those surveyed said they were extremely likely to use the option offered by websites like Priceline.com, Expedia and lastminute.com, with 67 percent who said they were somewhat unlikely or not at all likely to take the risk.