Travel News Report
Aug. 19, 2015

Texas strong: Economy remains resilient as oil prices fall
CNN Money
Oil prices can't mess with Texas. Some economists warned last year that Texas could slide into a recession in 2015 as oil prices tanked. Recently, prices hit a 6-year low to $42, down from $100 a barrel a year ago. But Texas added jobs in five of the first six months this year.More

US airlines group expects busy Labor Day travel
Reuters via YAHOO News
Labor Day air travel in the United States will be even busier this year than last. U.S. airlines are expected to carry 14.2 million passengers worldwide from Sept. 2, through Sept. 8, up 3 percent from a year earlier, Washington-based trade group Airlines for America said. The group has forecast that summer travel will reach an all-time high on the wings of a strong U.S. economy.More

US hotel supply breaks 5 million room mark
Business Travel News
The number of available rooms in U.S. hotels surpassed 5 million for the first time, according to STR. The company's most recent hotel census, for June, shows 5,001,163 rooms across 53,554 properties. STR president and COO Amanda Hite said the growth "reflects continued interest in the sector and its ability to generate return."More

General Services Administration releases government per diem for 2016
Meetings and Conventions
The General Services Administration has established the 2016 per-diem rates for the lower 48 Continental United States (CONUS), the maximum allowances for which federal employees are reimbursed for official travel expenses. The hotel rate will rise to $89 next year, from the current $83.More

The new set of best practices for making smarter tourism boards
As we recently reported, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) launched phase two of its DestinationNEXT research last month, which includes a 94-page DestinationNEXT Practice Handbook outlining 20 best practices and 10 "NEXTPractices" for tourism bureaus in 2015. The NEXTPractices are initiatives that have much potential for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) although some of them would be expensive and/or would require a long time to develop and scale fully into practical systems for the mainstream DMO industry.More

5 smartwatch capabilities on travel's wish list
Since the release of the Apple Watch in April, those of us in the travel industry now have a better idea of how smartwatches are being used and who's using them for travel. In 2014, Android Wear sold 720,000 devices. And while Apple hasn't publicly shared the sales of the Apple Watch, Slice Intelligence estimates the company sold about 2.8 million devices as of mid-June. However, other analysts' guesses range from 15 to 30 million Apple Watches to be sold in 2015. More