U.S. travel market projected to increase 4% in 2008 and 2% in 2009.

With the economic situation deteriorating throughout fall 2008, most U.S. travel companies are now grappling with declining demand and uncertainty for the future. The latest market forecasts in the new PhoCusWright’s U.S. Online Travel Overview Eighth Edition reflect these lower expectations for travel companies’ performance.

If unemployment continues to rise and retirement accounts dwindle, travel companies must prepare for a downward trend: fewer people taking trips, just like in 2002. The strategy to hold or even raise prices has shifted as travel sellers look to salvage what they can of 2008 while holding steady in 2009.

PhoCusWright projects the overall U.S. travel market is expected to increase by 4% and 2% in 2008 and 2009, respectively. These are the slowest growth rates since 2003, when the market declined by 8% following the effects of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. All segments, except rail, will be impacted. But the travel industry is no stranger to crisis, and improved results are expected in 2010.

Read the complete story.

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