INDSUurSve Ty RY
Continued from Page 26
litical landscape with the 2008 U.S.
presidential election in the offing and
companies substituting modern technology such as videoconferencing for
Nevertheless, optimism is
high and almost no one believes
in the potential for a bad scenario impacting business travel.
When the question was asked
about what will contribute to
the growth in leisure travel,
there was general agreement
again but a broader array of underlying factors was suggested
(Fig. 1, Page 26).
The first item mentioned by almost
all of the executives interviewed was
that baby boomers are now approaching retirement age. Overlooked (but
perhaps assumed) by most is that
boomers already contribute heavily to
leisure travel growth, which started for
will continue to
them when they began reaching the
age of 45, a time when their children
have left home, enabling the boomers
to take longer trips. outlook that is expected to continue,
Other suggestions about what is despite occasional economic hiccups.
contributing to growth include a When asked what could contribute
strong economy, high consumer con- to a decline in leisure travel, an even
fidence, a growing interest in travel broader range of answers was offered,
among an affluent population, often reflecting the opposite of what is
new destinations opening up contributing to the growth in leisure
and affordable air fares. travel (Fig. 2, Page 26).
An airline executive sug- These include economic slowdown,
gested that abnormally low rising gas prices and inflation taking
airline fares have helped the dollars out of people’s pockets, SARS
travel boom. And another ex- and bird flu types of illnesses, terror-ecutive said that travel to the ism incidents, immigration hassles, a
U.S. has picked up because of continuing decline in the purchasing
a weak dollar, although this as- power of the dollar and a continuing
sertion is not borne out by U.S. drop in the sub-prime market. One
government data. person even suggested that global
Overall, most comments centered on warming and resultant flooding could
boomers retiring and a strong business Continued on Page 32
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