There’s Luca from Italy who reports Italians are used to a slow economy and he is still selling high-priced trips to affluent compatriots. David from Ireland tells of large European choral and agricultural groups still going strong. Student tour operators, who recently met in Colorado Springs, seem to agree that numbers are not dropping for 2009. (Parents continue to make their offspring a priority!) Midwestern U.S. tour operators credit the fiscal conservatism of their demographic for a steady influx of business.
The energy and enthusiasm that pervades the travel industry was as present as ever in this group–whether wandering the streets of Savannah in search of pirate treasure (!) or sharing ideas in small group or plenary meetings. An outside observer would never doubt that we all love what we do and put our hearts into every endeavor.
It is this positive spirit and passion for travel that will see us all through yet another challenging period in our industry’s history. The human spirit loves to explore, connect and experience new sights and sensations. And we–tour operators, hotels, CVBs, DMOs, and travel suppliers–stand ready and able to fulfill that undeniable human urge–now and well into the future.