NEW YORK - A new survey released by the U.S Travel Association reveals rising fuel costs will cause travelers nationwide to cut back on car trips this summer, MSNBC.com reports.
The survey polled 2,500 people around the country, of whom 54% said an increase in gas prices would affect their summer vacation plans. Twenty-five percent of business travelers said high gas prices would affect their business travel plans.
Carroll Rheem, research director for PhoCusWright, a travel research and analysis company, said high gasoline prices have emerged as a threat to many travel segments, especially the road trip.
"I think it€™s definitely a potential damper to summer travel and the travel industry," she said. "It€™s a little bit frustrating to watch. We€™ve been waiting for this recovery, and as soon as economic factors improve, the price of gas rises.
The impact will also be felt by destinations accessible only by plane, such as Hawaii, where higher airline ticket prices will force travelers to stay closer to home.
"Travelers who might have flown, they€™ll be grounded," Rheem said. "Especially families who are buying four tickets instead of two."
Nancy White, a spokesperson for AAA, said higher fuel prices would definitely impact travel behavior, though it€™s difficult to predict to what extent.
"We have 7,000 travel counselors at 1,000 branch offices, and we did a quick poll of them," White said. "They told us AAA members are not canceling trips. They are altering distances (driven), and perhaps number of destinations they go to."