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NTA members report growth in 2010, are optimistic for 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A survey of NTA members casts an optimistic light on the travel industry, with two of the three NTA membership categories reporting continued growth in the fourth quarter of 2010, with the third group showing only a slight drop.

NTA tour operators and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) reported increases in sales volume and/or visitors in the fourth quarter 2010 over the same quarter in 2009 and stronger growth than earlier in 2010.

Although tour suppliers saw a slight decrease, their optimism for the first quarter of 2011 is good, with a majority anticipating either an increase in visitors or visitation to remain unchanged.

Nearly three quarters, 70 percent, of DMOs reported an increase in visitors during the fourth quarter of 2010 over the same quarter in 2009. In that group, 13 percent reported increases of between 10 percent and 24 percent, 3 percent reported increases of 25 percent to 50 percent and 1 percent saw increased visitation of more than 50 percent.

Looking ahead, 40 percent expect growth of up to 10 percent during the first quarter of 2011, while 13 percent estimate gains of between 10 percent and 24 percent. Another 40 percent feel their visitation will remain unchanged.

If those expectations hold up, it would amount to a slightly slower growth than in the fourth quarter but would be substantially larger than during the first quarter of 2010.

For tour operators, 11 percent reported increased sales volumes of up to 10 percent for the fourth quarter over the same period a year before, 30 percent reported increases of 10 percent to 24 percent, 9 percent reported increase of 25 percent to 50 percent and 3 percent reported increased sales of more than 50 percent.

Like DMOs, tour operators are optimistic about the first quarter of 2011, with nearly half (46 percent) anticipating increased sales volumes and another 39 percent estimating that volumes will remain steady.

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