Mobile check-in will become standard throughout the airline industry and passengers may get biometric data cards to speed them through security under a forecast for the future of travel created by the Airline Passenger Experience Association. The forecast also expects continued emphasis on "lighter, tighter, and narrower" economy-class seating.
The U.S. Travel Association has released a report indicating that government meetings and events injected $24.4 billion into the U.S. economy in 2011. In addition, the survey found that recent efforts to reduce travel spending in the government and cancellations of several major events have resulted in significant costs. The report came in the wake of new legislation introduced in Congress that seeks additional curbs for spending on government events.
An impending round of government spending cuts included in the "fiscal cliff" was not averted by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, but delayed for two months, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a message to members. The cuts could have a severe effect on operations of government agencies related to travel, such as the departments of Transportation, Homeland Security and State. "We are primarily concerned about the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration to manage increased travel loads on a reduced budget," Dow said.
The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that 1 billion travelers will cross an international boundary while on a leisure trip in 2012. The group attributes the increase in part to an increasing desire for travel to emerging countries such as China. "There is an inexorable growth in the number of people who want to travel around the world," said David Scowsill, the council's president and CEO.
With federal agencies urging their employees to avoid business travel out of deference to taxpayers, columnist Ben Stein has "a few humble thoughts." Business meetings had nothing to do with the credit bubble or the economic mess, he says, and discouraging travel doesn't make anything better. "Instead, this anti-meeting policy gets hotel and airline workers fired, kicks hotel maids and busboys in the teeth, wrecks communities used to working hard to be good hosts," he writes.