here's still too much bad news in the
world, but there's enough good news, and enough good economic news,
to allow the travel industry's spring season to live up to its
The financial press was full of reports last week that
employment and retail sales are rebounding strongly, and our news
pages report today that key segments of the travel industry are
benefitting from the general trend.
And as Amelia International founder Dawn Bosco points out, it is
an especially good sign that travelers are once again booking
ahead, making reservations now for autumn travel rather than
waiting until "the last minute." That could be a sign that
travelers are finally losing the "jitters," or whatever it is that
has been keeping them close to their couches.
It should not be overlooked that this return of consumer
confidence is being matched by a renewed sense of optimism within
the travel industry itself, as evidenced by a raft of new
Airlines are opening new routes in numerous foreign and domestic
markets. Hotel companies are investing in new niches and launching
new brands. Tour operators are rolling out new itineraries, and the
recent history of the cruise industry is a never-ending story of
new ports and new ships. The big online travel sellers are
investing in overseas operations, and big corporate agencies are
investing in their futures with an acquisition binge of historical
It is a testament to the appeal of leisure travel and the
importance of business travel that this resurgence in consumer and
industry confidence is happening against the backdrop of a weak
dollar, high energy prices, a conflict of uncertain proportions in
Iraq and the certain knowledge that terrorism hasn't gone away.
That sort of bad news would ordinarily serve as a deterrent to
travel, but this spring we seem to be rebounding in spite of
Perhaps the travel industry has reached the next rung of an
evolutionary ladder, a rung from which the industry can flourish
and prosper in what, in happier times, would have been deemed
Is it too soon to say we have adapted?
• • •
t is a measure of how wacky
airline marketing has become that the normally astute editors of
this publication were taken in by an April Fool's "news" story that
Virgin Atlantic Airways had hired a cadre of inflight
hypnotherapists. It had done no such thing.
We fell for the airline's gag because inflight hypnotherapy is
precisely the sort of off-beat innovation that we have come to
expect from Virgin Atlantic. In an era when it's hard to know
what's "over the top" and what isn't, this joke was just a bit too
We apologize to our readers for letting our guard down, and we
also thank our friends at Virgin Atlantic for giving us this
opportunity to recalibrate our balderdash detectors.