Bus Group Travel Picks Up Speed Despite Economy | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
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Bus Group Travel Picks Up Speed Despite Economy

12/18/2008

Charlotte to Host Travel Professionals from Across the Nation at ABA Marketplace in Charlotte

Despite a recession, approximately 3,500 professionals dedicated to group travel and tourism will make their way to Charlotte January 7 – 12 for ABA Marketplace 2009. And with these attendees, like every other industry in the nation, the hot topic will be how the economy will impact business. Armed with innovations in the motorcoach industry, dedicated travel resources, and sound research that points to growth, ABA Marketplace will focus on the opportunities instead of the obstacles presented by the current economy.

“We anticipate…that we’ll see a double-digit percentage increase in bus passenger trips. Independent bus operators already provide 700 million bus passenger trips each year, more than airlines in some years, and more people go by bus in two weeks than by Amtrak in an entire year.” said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso while visiting Charlotte recently.

ABA Marketplace is made up of a diverse group of travel professionals that include motorcoach and tour operators, manufacturers and suppliers of bus products and services, and travel industry professionals that encompass destination marketing organizations like Visit Charlotte, hotels, attractions, and more.

Research also attributes the double-digit percentage jump in ridership to a new generation of non-traditional bus riders in their 20s, who are not “wedded to personal autos.” Distributors catering to this generation offer amenities that include iPod hook-ups, flat-screen DVDs, reclining upholstered seats, and personal climate control.

Sustainable innovations are attracting ridership too. “We are part of the transportation solution,” says Pantuso. “We mitigate congestion by taking cars off the roads. We reduce energy consumption and slash carbon dioxide emissions. We offer mobility to 14.4 million rural Americans who would otherwise be without access to transportation services because they live far from rail hubs and airports…We are the greenest way to go.”

For more information on ABA’s impact on the group travel industry, visit www.buses.org.

Visit Charlotte, a division of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, has promoted the Charlotte region for over 25 years as a destination for tourists, a host city for meetings and conventions and a site for sporting events. It employs a staff of approximately 40 that includes satellite sales offices in Chicago and Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.charlottesgotalot.com.

The American Bus Association is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry with more than 1000 motorcoach owner and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,600 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.

Molly Hedrick, CRVA Communications Department

(704) 331-2737