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 LISLE, Ill., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Travel spending will rise or at least stay the same in 1994, but the business community is decidedly more bullish than consumers on the state of the U.S. economy and its impact on travel, according to Budget Rent a Car's 1994 Travel Barometer Survey, released today. The annual survey also found that rest and relaxation is the favorite activity for leisure travelers and that the recent negative publicity on tourist crime would have little or no effect on consumer travel plans for 1994.
 Almost one third of the consumers (30 percent) and business travelers (33 percent) surveyed in this year's Travel Barometer expect to increase their ravel in 1994, with more than 50 percent of both groups expecting it to at least stay at current levels. There was a sharp divergence, however, in how the two groups rate consumer confidence in the economy, with 43 percent of the business travelers ranking consumer confidence high compared to only 29 percent of leisure travelers.
 Budget's survey polled 400 consumers (equally divided amongst business sand leisure travelers) nationwide as well as 500 travel agents and corporate travel managers to identify key trends and attitudes affecting travel next year.
 "Our survey confirms many of the recent business and economic indicators which are pointing to a stronger year for travel in 1994, despite some lagging consumer confidence," said William N. Plamondon, president and CEO of Budget. "Perhaps most important for Budget is that business and leisure travelers agree that value is by far one of the key criterion for making travel arrangements. Providing the most value for the rental dollar has always been Budget's hallmark, and this year we plan to continue to reinforce our smart choice position with our customers on a worldwide basis."
 On the controversial issue of tourist crime, Budget's 1994 Travel Barometer found today's travelers surprisingly unconcerned. Most leisure (78 percent) and business (85 percent) travelers said that they would not change their travel plans because of crime directed against tourists. Only 18 percent of the total respondents said they would alter their plans by avoiding certain areas.
 R&R Still Top Vacation Pursuit
 Despite the growing popularity of active vacations, including the popular new trend of "soft adventure" travel (such as safaris, mountain climbing, or archeological digs), rest and relaxation continued to be the top vacation pursuit for leisure travelers. Meanwhile, men were more likely than women to consider an adventure travel vacation. Nearly half (42 percent) of the leisure travelers in Budget's survey said that what they liked best about travel was the ability to rest and relax. More than 80 percent of survey respondents define their vacation "style" as stop and go (a mix of relaxing and being on the go), and an overwhelming 95 percent said that it was important to take at least one leisure trip annually.
 In terms of destinations, the majority of leisure travelers said their last vacation completely met their expectations. Although no single destination stood out as the first choice in leisure travel today, the top three mentioned by survey respondents were: Disney World/Epcot Center, Hawaii and Las Vegas. The trend toward traveling close to home was also borne out by Budget's survey, with respondents saying that an average of 85 percent of their 1994 leisure travel would be domestic rather than international.
 Value Remains Key to Travel Arrangements
 The leisure travelers in Budget's survey ranked price (33 percent) and value (29 percent) as the most important factors in making travel arrangements. Business travelers, on the other hand, placed the highest priority on convenience (38 percent), followed by value (21 percent) and price (21 percent). In defining the main factors that go into value, leisure travelers again emphasized price (48 percent). Although more than half (57 percent) of leisure travel respondents said that package vacations offered the best travel values, 80 percent indicated that they made separate reservations for each facet of the trip.
 Renting Cars for Shorter Trips: Services Influence Rental Decision
 Responding to rising travel costs, consumers are changing their modes of transportation, according to Budget's Travel Barometer. Both leisure (87 Percent) and business (75 percent) travelers are increasingly opting to their destinations on shorter trips of less than 350 miles. Of those who choose to drive, 37 percent of business travelers and 25 percent of leisure travelers rent a car for the trip at least some of the time.
 Service has been called one of the most important differentiating factors in an increasingly competitive travel industry. However, Budget's survey found service to be a relative sore for the car rental business. While nearly 70 percent of business and leisure travelers participating in the Travel Barometer survey indicated that the level of service received from the travel industry has remained fairly constant, service was mentioned by business travelers as the car rental area that most negatively affected their enjoyment of business travel experience. Business travelers ranked quick efficient check-in and lower prices as key elements to improve car rental service; leisure travelers cited the same two factors, but listed price as their number one priority.
 Rental Car Usage Stable, Price Rising
 The majority of both business (64 percent) and leisure travelers (60 percent) said that their use of rental cars had remained stable compared to 12 months ago, with nearly a quarter of both groups indicating a growth in usage
this year. The majority of business and leisure travelers felt that rental car prices had increased or stayed the same this year, but nearly two-thirds of both groups are expecting prices to increase in the coming year.
 The Budget Rent a Car 1994 Travel Barometer surveyed over 500 travel agents and corporate travel mangers, as well as 400 consumers from Nov. 20 through Dec. 2, 1993. The research was conducted by Maritz Marketing Research, Inc., a St. Louis-based independent research firm.
 Budget Rent a Car is the world's third largest car and truck rental systems, with more that 3,200 corporate and licensee-owned locations, including nearly 825 airports in over 115 countries and territories. Budget has nearly 1,050 locations in the United States, including more that 300 airport locations.
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 /CONTACT: Sandra Allen of Budget Rent a Car, 708-955-7058, or Denise Caiazzo of Ketchum Public Relations, 212-536-8738/

CO: Budget Rent a Car ST: Illinois IN: LEI SU:

SH-SP -- NY020 -- 0911 01/11/94 10:28 EST
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Date:Jan 11, 1994

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