Well-deserved optimism

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The travel industry has been dealt a pair of aces with the release of two studies predicting that Americans will be taking more and longer trips this year, despite across-the-board increases in the cost of travel.

The two studies, one conducted jointly by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bear Stearns & Co., the other by TIA and AAA, couldn't come at a better time. With the country rocked by a series of calamities -- war in Europe, kids killing kids, increasing racial tensions and a prolonged impeachment trial that humiliated the country -- this would be a good time to bask in a little well-deserved optimism.

And it's not such a huge leap from travel-industry prosperity to national well-being. The nation's propensity for travel is not just a barometer of collective self-confidence, it is also a catalyst. Think about it. Business travel continues to stimulate the already-booming economy while leisure travel, quite simply, creates happiness. So whatever the reason you got into this business, the bottom line is that you are a positive influence on the American psyche. You're the cavalry, folks! Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

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