INDSUurSve Ty RY
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But tour operators themselves believe they have a bright future and
don’t support this view. The two respondents who chose cruise lines suggested that overcapacity and continuing problems with onboard ailments
such as viruses will lead more people
to avoid cruising.
When asked to rate the economic
health of their own segment of the
travel industry, 40% of the execu-
tives said “Excellent” and 30% chose marketing executives of the five dif-
“Good.” Only 30% put themselves in ferent and diverse segments of the
the “Fair” or “Poor” categories. travel industry. Normally one would
expect more diversity, even within
PERSPECTIVE a single segment let alone segments
Each study produces surprises that have such different goals and
— unexpected findings that result in agendas and serve the public in dif-
new insights into the thoughts and ferent ways.
ideas of respondents. The current Second, that similarity suggests a
project has several. universal belief that not only is travel
First is the strong unanimity of benefiting from good economic times,
opinion among the most senior but that growth will continue for the
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foreseeable future without a downturn
caused by some problems on the economic horizon — a fallout in the sub-prime market, a resulting slowdown
in home sales and the concomitant
reduction in home equity, and rising
energy prices, all of which can cut into
discretionary consumer spending.
So, optimists rule the day, even for
those parts of the industry facing the
most difficulty: airlines and car rental
Third, in this media-rich age, we all
tend to get the same economic forecasts, which can lead to similar conclusions among executives of diverse
The belief that the economy will
remain strong in spite of some cur-
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rent problems reflects the predictions
of economists that today is different
than the past, even though we are experiencing an unusually long period
of economic expansion.
But collective opinion, even among
professional economists and forecasters, can be wrong. There could be a
sharp correction in the economy.
Nevertheless, this study points out
that most suppliers, across all segments of the industry, will continue
to expand their product offerings.
Overall, there probably won’t be
an increased emphasis by these suppliers on courting travel agents, but
there also will not be a diminished
The challenge rests in the laps of
agencies to find ways to increase their
presence in a competitive and challenging marketplace, their importance
to consumers, and their ability to expand their businesses profitably in an
age of challenges.