. Overseas Travel Still Strong | Meetings & Conventions

Overseas Travel Still Strong

Expedia’s travel trends survey...ISPA’s new code...Cruise lines ban trans fats

Travel Trends

For the most part, recent changes in U.S. passport requirements have not affected travelers’ habits or choice of destinations, according to a survey of 2,757 adults in the United States sponsored by Expedia.com and conducted this past December by Harris Interactive.

Among a number of findings in the Expedia Travel Trendwatch:

* The survey found that about three-quarters (74 percent) of U.S. adults are equally (68 percent) or even more likely (6 percent) to travel to Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, the areas affected by the new regulations, as they were before passports were required.

* The weakened U.S. dollar is a relatively small concern to those considering international travel.

Other trends Expedia analysts noted:

* Airlines are continuing to raise fares, despite declining fuel prices.

* Unseasonably warm temperatures in much of the United States earlier this winter could result in deeper discounts this spring in warm-weather destinations such as Florida and the Caribbean, which missed the winter business.

Spa Code

Confused about spa etiquette? Help is at hand: The International Spa As-so-ciation has created a code of conduct for both providers and consumers of spa services. The code can be accessed at ISPA’s website (www.experienceispa.com/ISPA/Education/Resources/Code+of+Conduct.htm). It encourages guests to be communicative about their preferences, health issues and problems with treatments. Member spas are required to provide a clean, safe and comfortable environment, and to treat spa-goers with respect.

Healthy Cruising

Hotel chains, restaurants and even municipalities have recently banned trans fats from their menus, and now two cruise lines, Crystal Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, have climbed aboard the bandwagon.

In late January, Crystal Cruises removed trans fats from the galleys on its two ships, and chefs aboard the vessels have replaced all trans-fat oils with trans-fat-free oils. In addition, changes have been incorporated across the ships’ menus and restaurants, from french fries to salad dressings.

Crystal said its crew galleys are now trans-fat-free as well, and the cruise line plans to offer its crew more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, as well as crew-only wellness classes and sporting activities.

As of this month, Royal Caribbean International has banned trans fats from its entire fleet of 20 ships, implementing the move in stages. As a first step, trans-fat-free frying oil has replaced the oil traditionally used in food preparation.

In addition, a new selection of trans-fat-free options has been introduced to Royal Caribbean’s menus. Moreover, a spokesperson for the cruise line said Royal Caribbean has committed to work with its food suppliers to eliminate all trans-fat items by the end of this year.

Security Fast Track

For travelers who want to cut down on their wait in airport security lines, Clear Registered Traveler operates private security lanes for its members at New York’s JFK Terminal 7. The service also is available in the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Orlando and San Jose (Calif.) international airports.

CRT is scheduled to launch a new Registered Traveler lane this month at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Air-port’s Terminal 2, which serves Virgin Atlantic Airways, and another such express lane is due to begin operation at JFK’s Terminal 1 later this year.

To register for the service, which costs $99.95 annually, sign up at flyclear.com; enrollment stations also are available at the airports listed above.