Convention, Hotel Bookings Fuel Travel Industry Growth, Fed Reports

Thanks in large part to hotel and convention bookings, which continue to "exceed last year's pace," travel and tourism activity in the last six weeks has been expanding across many U.S. markets, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which last week released a summary of current economic conditions in the United States.

Although travel and tourism were "strong," the report concluded, "overall economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace in June and early July."

"The Atlanta, St. Louis and San Francisco Districts reported modest growth, while Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Dallas described economic activity as advancing moderately," the Fed reported. "The New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland Districts noted that activity continued to expand, but at a slower pace since the last report, while Richmond cited mixed activity."

Travel and tourism activity was strongest in New York, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco, where hotel occupancy rates and revenue per available room (RevPAR) were "robust." That's the good news. The bad news, according to the Fed, is "the potential impact of economic and financial stress abroad and the effect it could have on international travel."

Still, the Fed's outlook for the rest of this quarter is positive. "The outlook among the majority of hospitality contacts for the remainder of the summer is good as hotel and convention bookings continued to [grow]," the Fed concluded.