17 May 2006


Jim Rink (313) 336-1513

Americans have lost their anxiety about overseas travel and are now hitting the skies to Europe and other international destinations this summer, according to research and sales data released by AAA.

The number of Americans traveling overseas increased by 5% in 2005 according to the U.S. Commerce Department and Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, and this summer the trend will likely continue says AAA.

A survey of AAA travel agency managers conducted this month found that 70% believed that international air bookings will increase this summer compared to the summer of 2005. AAA agency managers also expect to see a jump in international group tours.

According to AAA, the leading reason for the increase is that Americans are less afraid to travel and are more interested in Europe than before. Americans are also taking advantage of their increased disposable income, according to the survey.

“This is an exciting trend as American’s swallow their fear and choose to explore the world.” said Sandra Hughes, AAA’s Vice President of Travel. “We are likely to see even more bookings in response to the popularity of summer blockbuster movies such as Mission Impossible III and The Da Vinci Code, which were filmed in Europe”.

A look at AAA travel agency bookings (tickets purchased through AAA travel agencies) also shows that Europe will be hot this summer. Four of the five top international destinations booked by AAA travel clients were in Europe. The list includes: London, Rome, Cancun, Dublin and Copenhagen. In 2005 London and Rome were the only European cites to make the top five in AAA summer travel bookings.

In general, AAA’s international airline bookings were up 18.8% in March (the most recent data available) and year to date for March, international booking were up 16.5%.

Meanwhile AAA saw a 25% increase in the number of bookings to Europe for travel this summer. Bookings to Asia are up 28.5% and bookings to Mexico, Central and South America combined are down 19.8.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 49 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since it’s founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.