What does the fiscal cliff mean to travelers?

Plunging off the cliff could have a huge impact on how many trips people take. Photo: Todd DeFeo

SMYRNA, Georgia, Dec. 18, 2012 — With so much discussion about the so-called fiscal cliff and its impact on the country, one overlooked question is its meaning for travelers.

Plunging off the cliff could, according to one expert, have a huge impact on how many trips people take.

Right now, people aren’t sure how to budget for 2013, in part because tax rates remain in flux, experts suggest. The higher the taxes, the less disposable income people have, which could translate to less travel.

“As we enter the New Year, one unknown for travel is the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ and the resulting uncertainty related to near-term tax and benefit changes,” AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a release. “Having these items unresolved complicates many travelers’ ability to develop an accurate household budget as they plan for future spending and saving decisions. It is important that Congress and the President work together to quickly resolve the situation for the good of the nation.”

The U.S. Travel Association is calling on lawmakers to avert the cliff, improve the predictability of the market, and reduce the budget deficit.

“The uncertainty over the economic impact of the fiscal cliff and potentially significant tax increases is delaying decisions about travel,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement.

“If unresolved, millions of American families may be left without the means to take a vacation and businesses are certain to roll back their travel spending,” Dow said. “Less travel will affect communities from coast-to-coast with small businesses paying the highest price. Reductions in travel will force employers to make difficult decisions in a labor-intensive industry suffering from fewer customers.”

The association also warned that budget cuts to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) could result in bad travel experiences.

“Poor travel experiences today will impact decisions to travel far into the future – whether for American families or international visitors, who spent $153 billion during visits to the U.S. in 2011,” Dow said.

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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.


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