Position:Business travelers spending

A national survey conducted on behalf of Orbitz for Business by Harris Interactive reveals the majority of business travelers are equally or more cost-conscious when it comes to saving their company money in 2004. According to the poll, 83 percent of business travelers feel "more" obligated to save their company money when traveling for business this year. The survey also found that 35 percent of business travelers plan to use an online agency to book business travel in 2004, while one in five (19 percent) said they would use their company's in- house corporate travel agent. Less than one in ten (8 percent) said they would use leisure travel agents for their business-travel needs. For business travelers who use corporate agents, 42 percent feel their corporate travel agent does not always give them the lowest price and 44 percent believe that corporate agents charge high service fees. In addition, more than a third (36 percent) of business travelers frequently search online to see if they can find a better deal than their corporate agent. Eighty-four percent of business travelers cite convenience as a reason for booking business travel online in 2004; 69 percent cite a preference for self-service. The survey, conducted online March 1-3 2004, sampled 2,272 U.S. adults 18 years or older, 733 of whom are employed and plan to travel for business at least once in 2004.

The FAA, at its Annual Forecast Conference in Washington, said as the U.S. and other economies rapidly recover over the next two years, aviation would benefit. Passenger demand will return to pre-Sept. 11 levels by 2005, and large and small airlines will see an annual growth rate of 4.3 percent, the FAA predicts. Low-cost carriers and regional airlines could account for more than 50 percent of all domestic passengers by the end of the 12-year forecast period--2004-2015. But rising fuel prices are still a concern, and the profitability of airlines hinges on the business traveler returning to enough degree. DOT Secretary Norman Mineta said passengers are using different airlines and different airports than in the past, such as Long Beach, Charlotte and Midway, which helps with traffic congestion.

St. Louis-based INTRAV is offering a series of four new private-jet tours that provide shorter, regionally focused journeys to North America, South America and Western Europe. The four itineraries visit:

* Southern California, the Grand Canyon, the Colorado Rockies and New Orleans


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