California hotel room bookings, prices, and airport travel both domestically and internationally were all up significantly in May over a year ago, according to the June Edition of the Research Dashboard from California’s tourism unit, Visit California.
Summer travel is expected to show gains as well although the credit crisis in Europe could have significant impacts on outbound travel. Prior to the July 4 holiday, AAA forecast a 4.9% increase in domestic travel over the 4th of July weekend, which would match the decade’s previous high mark set in 2007. Declining gas prices helped boost car travel intentions by 4%, and air travel intentions grew by a robust 9% compared to a year ago.
All this despite further declines in consumer confidence during the last few months and moderate growth of the US economy.
More detailed analysis on these and other conditions affecting travel are available in Dr. Suzanne Cook’s US Travel Outlook from June.
Hotel occupancy rates statewide were up 3.9% over May 2011 to 69.2%, and average room rates were up even further by 4.5% to $120.04. In fact, occupancy rates were up even higher in many places – 3%-6% in all regions — except San Francisco, which showed a small year-to-year decline. Annual growth in room rates ranged from flat in the North Coast region to a 9.4% increase in the San Jose area.
Airport traffic in April was up more than 4% for both domestic and international air travel. And overseas point of entry arrivals showed an uptick in March after three months of no change from November to January and a decline in February.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people visited California’s 20 Welcome Centers in May, with comparable yr/yr traffic up nearly 5%.
The complete 10-page Dashboard of charts and graphs covering these and other economic indicators can be found by clicking here.