WMU News

Consumers benefit again on holiday travel

Dec. 17, 2003

KALAMAZOO--It will be a buyer's market again for people planning their holiday vacations in Michigan, says a Western Michigan University tourism expert.

"This is going to be a season of 'best buys,'" says Dr. Eldor Quandt, associate professor of geography. "People in the resort industry I've spoken with say a lot of reservations are being made a couple days before a weekend, and many guests are simply walk-ins."

Because of a soft economy, and the "bunker mentality" that still lingers from 9.11, Quandt believes most holiday travel will continue to be regional. "There are upward trends we're seeing in reservations at resort complexes, and Caribbean travel is way up, but most trips will be restricted to short distances to visit family and friends."

For the Michigan economy, staying close to home means good news, with tourism dollars remaining in the state. "Michigan does a great job of retaining its travelers during the holidays, with over 50 percent staying in the state, a figure that is much bigger than neighboring Ohio and Indiana," says Quandt.

Early indicators are that the future is positive for the tourism industry. "We are seeing people buying more durable goods like, stoves, cars and refrigerators. This usually means that disposable income for recreational activities is delayed eight to 10 months. I would expect heavier than normal travel in late spring and summer."

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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