Wednesday, December 2, 2015
I received the below questions from Brenda. I’m sharing my response since you too may have the same questions. You are welcome to share it with others that may also have a concern about the recent travel alerts. Hope it helps.
Any information on potential outcomes we may face in our industry relative to the US reports on worldwide terrorism threats on travel. Are the main travel associations planning to get together to hold meetings to discuss it?
Thanks so much.
I can only guess what may happen by what I've experienced in the past. I've been through travel warnings, countries with government unrest, recessions, 911 and more. I’ve watched travel policy changes, tour industry changes, travel insurance changes, travel bonds and of course the establishment of the TSA.
When there are threats we sometimes have a dip in tourism and then the associations, local communities, states and politicians get involved when jobs are hurt. Tourism hires one in eight people worldwide. It’s over a $84 billion industry in California. It’s extremely important to the US economy and jobs but it sometimes takes educating the politicians and public of its importance when it is challenged.
For example, remember after 911 when the Broadway actors were in ads promoting NYC? The states and counties had meetings on how to bring back tourists. I still remember Sharon Stone and Arnold Schwarzeneger volunteering to shake the hands of visitors to LA. Of course this was after 911 and hopefully we won't have anything like that ever again.
Now that we have travel alerts, especially to Europe and the Middle East, travelers may decide to hold off on European tours and travel domestically and or will travel west towards the South Pacific and Asia and or to South America.
Before 911 we had tour operators offering either international travel or domestic travel. After 911, when more US residents decided to travel domestically, tour operators started offering tours to both markets. More domestic tours were offered for US residents. We may see a boost in US travel for leisure and meetings and incentives.
In recent years to help tourism, visa requirements have been made easier to attract US visitors, particularly from Eastern Europe and Brazil. President Obama made a speech at Disneyworld announcing the changes in 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOZuGcOT0kg
The easy, non-visa requirements for US travel, particularly from the European market, is now being questioned. If you watched the Syrian hearing last week, it was discussed as a major concern for US security. If additional regulations are enforced our inbound domestic tourism may take a 'hit' for a while. We may have fewer visitors, some just not wanting to go through more procedures.
Tourism has been through challenges over the years, as have many industries, during economic and safety concerns. Our industry has always come back quickly and stronger than before the challenge.
I pray we'll all stay safe and tourism continues to thrive.
Glad you asked and hope this helps.