Published on : Friday, December 9, 2016
A biennial economic impact study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) found that Active Members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) project to close out 2016 with sales reaching close to $15 billion.
According to the study, the Active Members of USTOA contributed $14.3 billion to the U.S. tour operator industry in 2015, representing 8.5 million individual travelers.
“USTOA Active Members are projecting a nearly 4% increase in total packages sold in 2016 over 2015 to approach $15 billion in revenue…showing remarkable resilience in a challenging year for travel,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “And, our Active Members cited further optimism for the year ahead with 82% anticipating growth in sales in 2017.”
Indicating further confidence for 2017, the survey revealed that almost half (44%) of the members who anticipate an increase in sales next year forecast “optimistic” to “boom year” growth with sales ranging from seven to 10% or more. Slightly more than a third (38%) of members who anticipate growth remain cautiously optimistic that sales will increase 4-6% in 2017.
USTOA tour operator members also addressed the global risks that could impact potential growth in the coming year, citing terrorism as the biggest threat with 85% “extremely concerned” to “very concerned.” Further risks identified by members as “extremely concerned” to “very concerned” were: political instability cited by 59%, and pandemics and other health crises cited by 56%.
In addition, Active Members projected that 62% of total packages sold in 2016 were through travel agencies, “Reinforcing the significant contribution travel agents make overall to our members’ businesses,” Dale added.
The research was released at USTOA’s Annual Conference & Marketplace, held at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, AZ, December 6-9, 2016. Among the other vital statistics revealed:
· Total packages sold in 2015 number 4.2 million; in 2016 members anticipate moderate growth of nearly 2%.
· USTOA tour operator members were responsible for 17.5 million hotel room nights in 2015; in 2016 this is expected to grow to 17.8 million.
· Airline seats sold in 2015 were 4.8 billion with roughly the same number projected to sell in 2016.
· Purchases of goods and services for travel packages, including air, rail, cruise, ground transportation, accommodations, dining and attractions, were $10 billion in 2015.