Travel News Report
Jan. 16, 2013

Texas Comptroller's weekly economic outlook
The Texas Economy
Job growth, sales tax collections — both from business and consumer purchases — as well as automobile sales, signal that the Texas economy has emerged from the recent recession. Another indicator that the state's economy has been comparatively healthy was the U.S. Census Bureau report that Texas added more people (421,000) than any other state from 2010 to 2011. Although Texas has only 8 percent of the nation's population, the state added nearly 19 percent of the nation's population growth for the year.More

Gas prices to fall in 2013
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
At least gasoline should cost you less in 2013. Hamburger, health care and taxes are all set to take a bigger bite out of the family budget this year. But drivers' annual gas bills are expected to drop for the first time in four years. Forecasters say ample oil supplies and weak U.S. demand will keep a lid on prices. The lows will be lower and the highs won't be so high compared with a year ago. The average price of a gallon of gasoline will fall 5 percent to $3.44, according to the Energy Department.More

State parks facing another fiscal challenge
Battered by budget cuts, heat and wildfires as well as a mounting backlog of maintenance issues, the once-again beleaguered Texas state park system may have to close 20 sites if additional funding isn't secured, officials say. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking the Legislature for an $18.9 million boost in funding to maintain its system of 95 parks. Without the additional money, the agency "anticipates closing up to 20 state parks," according to its appropriations request with the Legislative Budget Board.More

TSA testing broader PreCheck trusted-traveler eligibility
Business Travel News
A new Transportation Security Administration behavioral screening program will allow more air passengers who appear non-threatening to enter special PreCheck airport security lanes, where travelers may not be required to remove their shoes or their laptops from bags. The program, unofficially called "managed inclusion," is being tested in airports in Indianapolis and Tampa, Fla. "We are looking to increase the population of people who can use PreCheck," said TSA director of external communications David Castelveter.More

6 hotel social media marketing predictions for 2013
As hotel operators and marketers face another fresh, promising new year ahead, many are watching the social media space closely to gauge the level of time, expertise and financial investment that will be required to make it all worthwhile. The following are six quick social media predictions for the hotel industry in 2013.More