PhoCusWright: Travel biz to drop 11% in 2009

Everything that came after 2006 sucked, right?

If you feel this way, you’ll love the latest study from travel research firm PhoCusWright, which estimates that the travel industry will fall back to pre-2006 levels this year. The U.S. travel market is forecasted to decline by 11 percent by the time the ball drops, reflecting a change in consumer demand levels. Frankly, people who are out of work aren’t likely to demand a hell of a lot of travel services.

For those of us sick of hearing how the Baby Boomers will change the world, the study has a nice, bright silver lining. Generation Y (the one that comes after Generation X, for those of you wondering) are opening their wallets – unlike the boomers.

People in the 25 to 34 age bracket are spending the most per household on travel, and if you’re 18 to 34, you’re more likely to plan a bit more travel this year. The Boomers (45 to 64), who pride themselves on being the wealthiest generation alive, are spending the least per household on travel. And, they’re the group most likely to make more cuts.

Generation X doesn’t care. It never cared. It’s just mad that Kurt Cobain is dead.

Unfortunately, the Gen Y surge and Boomer cut doesn’t bode well for the travel industry. The people making the least are increasing their spend, but the deep-pocketed Boomers’ cuts will more likely be felt by a struggling travel and tourism industry.

By the way, props to PhoCusWright for putting some meat in this press release.