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High gas prices won't stop Americans from vacationing: CEO

With higher gas prices comes the fear that the broader economy will take a hit, but if Steven Joyce, CEO of Choice Hotels, is correct, the hotel industry is relatively sheltered from a modest rise in fuel tabs.


Choice, the world's fifth-largest hotel group and owner of brands such as Comfort Inn, Cambria Suites and Quality Inn, has found that higher prices at the pump won't stop middle-class America from taking vacations and spending on hotels.

(Related: Hotel guest satisfaction hits 7-year high: Survey)

"They said, 'Look, in a 300-mile trip, for me an extra 20 or 30 cents per gallon in gas prices is not going to make up my mind whether I go or not,' " Joyce told CNBC's "It's a Trip". "If I feel the pinch, I'm going to cut out a meal or I'm going to cut out some type of entertainment, but I'm still going on my trip or vacation."

Eighty percent of Choice guests plan to take at least one vacation this year, with half of those planning at least two, he said.

(Related: With rising profits, hotels start pushing the envelope)

Although gas prices aren't as big of a factor as many may suspect, the hotel industry is still lowering expectations in line with more sluggish macroeconomic conditions.

"We've got a little slower growth than we had, [but] it's still very positive," Joyce said.

—By CNBC's Paul Toscano. Follow him on Twitter @ToscanoPaul.