by Matt Alderton | March 12, 2013
Americans feel more positive about travel today than they did just prior to the Great Recession — a significant milestone in the economic recovery that will benefit both leisure and business travel, according to a survey of 2,300 active travelers conducted by marketing services firm MMGY Global.

MMGY publishes the Traveler Sentiment Index (TSI) every quarter. A derivative of six factors — interest in travel, time for travel, personal finances available for travel, affordability of travel, quality of travel services and safety of travel — that measure Americans’ attitudes toward travel, it has been declining since April 2012. It rebounded suddenly last month, however, increasing 10 points from 90.4 in October 2012 to 100.8 in February 2013 — the first time the TSI has surpassed the benchmark score of 100 established in pre-recession March 2007.

According to MMGY, the TSI’s sudden spike is owed primarily to an improvement in the perceived affordability of travel, which scored 114.5 in February, up from 102.6 in October.

Although the results are especially promising for leisure travel — 57 percent of all U.S. adults, or 136 million people, plan to take at least one leisure trip during the next six months, MMGY estimates — they also bode well for business travel.

“Business travel intentions also displayed a five-point jump in February, with fully 20 percent of all respondents intending to take at least one overnight business trip during the next six months — up from 15 percent in February 2012, and fully seven points from the 13 percent incidence first recorded in February 2009,” MMGY explains in a news release. “This increase may signal the beginning of a robust recovery of demand for business travel services, barring any unforeseen disruption of the continued recovery of the U.S. economy.”

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