Part I: Forecasts
4 The Economist View
Analysts say 2010 could come back strongly,
but forecasts are shaky as crisis unfolds.
The Executive View
How industry leaders approach a year when
the only certainty is uncertainty.
The Retailer View
Travel retailers open up about challenges;
some of their answers may surprise you.
Part II: Segments
Obama election raises hopes
for new U.S. image abroad.
Changes to travel rules
and regulations are at hand.
Lines strive to fill their ships
as economy teeters on the brink.
Record openings, occupancy dip
could spur discounting.
Spanish, U.S. companies
scale back some expansion plans.
More unbundled service fees,
reduced fares in the offing.
Part III: Changes
See what’s coming in the way of
exciting new products next year.
A look at all the things to which
we’ll bid farewell next year.
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Investing in the future
Every MBA student learns that
in tough economic times, CEOs
cut unnecessary expenses and
delay any activity that can be
put off without damaging their
businesses. Cosmetic activities
— painting the building, repaving the
parking lot — can wait for better times.
The focus is on “need to have,” not “nice
Indeed, when I interviewed 11 CEOs representing every
sector of the travel industry for this special Preview 2009 issue, I found consensus that yes, they
would all be prudent concerning activities that fall to the expense side of the ledger.
All of which raises a rather uncomfortable question: Is leisure travel a necessary expense for
most families? Consumers have already begun acting like CEOs in their own homes, watching
money carefully, cutting unnecessary expenses and delaying purchases that can be put off.
They’ve begun to act as if leisure travel falls into the “nice to have” category. Forward bookings are soft, and the question remains whether that’s a result of poor visibility or reflects the
silence of a consumer base that plans to stay home.
The CEOs with whom I spoke were careful to say that although they are watching expenses,
they would continue to make investments now that will pay dividends in the future.
Can a case be made that leisure travel is an investment in the future?
One important lesson we seem to be learning in this particular iteration of economic crisis
is that those who were the most materialistic and acquired the most things are feeling the most
pain. And those who loaded up their credit cards with debt to buy, buy, buy are no longer finding much comfort in their purchases.
But I doubt many people have hollow feelings about money spent on a multigenerational
trip with their family, or a girlfriend getaway, or a destination wedding or a visit to the land of
their ancestors. These are experiences that can’t rust, will never break and can never be lost.
They don’t depreciate; they only appreciate. They are the very best kinds of investments in the
Life does not stand still during bad economic times. Your clients’ children will only have the
chance to see the world through the eyes of a 5-year-old, or 8-year-old, or 16-year-old once
in their lives, in 2009. Visits to elderly parents or spending time with friends who have moved
away can very much fall into the “need to have” category.
If reminded, people will recall that travel yields a clear return that pays lifelong dividends.
Do your clients the favor of making sure they consider travel to be as close to a sure-thing
investment as a person can make in 2009.
Editor in Chief