Survey sees ’03 improvement

Aug 19, 2003 8:21 AM

Lodging and gaming analysts overall expect to see improved demand during the second half of 2003 and the early part of 2004. This was the result of a survey conducted by Standard & Poor’s, the country’s leading provider of independent research and debt ratings.

Reporting on the semi-annual survey results, Tom Graves, company casino and hotel equity analyst, remarked, "After two difficult years, the lodging and gaming industries should see improved customer demand in the second half of this year. We project that the lodging industry’s average room occupancy level will remain below 60% for the third consecutive year, but efficiency gains and low financing costs should help the industry withstand the pressures of increased supply and soft demand."

As for the casino industry, the survey reported, "Standard & Poor’s projects 2003 casino winnings to show a modest 5% increase from our 2002 estimate, to approximately $40 billion. The increase should come largely from revenue growth at Native American casinos."

Helping the gaming industry will be the "large contingent of baby boomers who are likely to prefer elaborate or expensive vacations while in their peak earning years. In addition, many Americans can be counted on to travel when they retire."