This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

July 30, 2008

The Future of Travel and Tourism

Recently, a study released by Proteus USA highlighted "55 Trends Now Shaping the Future". Written by respected futurists Marvin Cetron and Owen Davies, this 152-page exploration of global trends covers varied topics.

One of the 55 trends revealed relates to the growth of tourism, vacationing, and travel (especially international). Though this study overlooked the 41 million trips avoided by domestic travelers we recently reported (in the June 18, 2008 issue), we agree, in principal that the future of travel and tourism (especially international) is rosy.

Although US domestic tourism has been growing about 2.3 percent each year, we expect to see a bump this year, as rising fuel prices and other economic challenges have taken their tolls on family vacations. "Staycations", featuring traveling within about 200 miles of home, have increased significantly.

Moreover, with the devalued dollar, Europeans and Asians alike will be attracted to the scenic diversity and grandeur of the United States in record numbers. There had been a decline as a result of the tighter restrictions "enacted in the name of security and from international hostility inspired by the Iraq War", but the lure of value is already having a positive effect. Bed and breakfast owners have already seen an increase in the number of Europeans inquiring about their accommodations.

In the first half of 2007, international tourism grew by more than 6 percent partially due to global prosperity. "By 2020, international tourist arrivals [to the US] are expected to reach 1.6 billion annually, up from 842 million in 2006."

Retiring Baby Boomers have contributed to the growing numbers of passengers choosing cruise vacations. Some wise cruise operators have offered full-time residency, an interesting alternative to other assisted living arrangements. Expect more theme cruises like Dance Camp at Sea to tempt travelers to join like-minded tourists in learning more about a chosen interest. Expect hotels and resorts to market more to affinity groups to take advantage of this trend as well.

By 2008, Chinese spending for international travel will reach $100 billion and about 50 million Indian tourists are expected to join them. At the same time, as a result of the spotlight of the Olympics, China will become the most popular tourist destination.

The hospitality industry will continue to be challenged to find and keep the good people it needs to serve its growing market.

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