According to a recent BIGresearch American Pulse Survey, conducted in April 2009, just under 59 percent of Americans say the economy has affected their vacation plans this summer. Many are making changes to their travel behaviors this summer, the survey indicated. Most frequently cited as a cost-cutting measure was reducing the number of days spent in a hotel (30.5 percent), while cutting back on the quality of a hotel registered just over 20 percent. Just over 27 percent said that the solution to save money on travel was to look for a local getaway that did not require long drives or air travel.
The survey question asked, "As a way of coping with the current economic environment, are you making any of the following changes to your vacation travel behaviors?" The survey had 4,023 respondents.
BIGresearch's blog provides a bit more insight and reason for optimism for the outdoor community. One response stated, "My husband and I are trying to regain money we lost in the stock market, so we definitely will not be going on vacation. We plan to take a few days for hiking in the Smokies where we live." Another stated, "The only vacation plan I have will be a picnic at the local park!" Yet another responded, "We are hoping to plan a camping trip to the UP of MI sometime, but that is as far as we are going to get unless the economy picks up."
SNEWS® View: The real question that still remains is if this increased interest in getting outdoors as a means to an affordable vacation will translate into meaningful sales at outdoor specialty retailers. Too, one wonders if this uptick in the outdoors being a favored destination in coming months will remain, or if we will simply be watching the participation graph trend back down once the economy rebounds. We have to hope that with a unified and concerted effort to embrace all comers and make everyone feel welcome in our stores and in the greater outdoors, vacations in parks and forests will remain high in favor for years to come.