Remember Globalization and its pal Consolidation? They never really went away, but if recent events are any guide, we're going to be a bit more aware of their presence this year than we have been of late.


Consider that Marriott begins the year 2015 by arranging to acquire a chain of Canadian hotels. Carnival Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding in China to form joint ventures to create a Chinese cruise line and to develop ports and destinations in the region. Expedia is to acquire Travelocity. The board of Aer Lingus agreed to a buyout by International Airline Group, the parent of British Airways and Iberia.

And that was just January.

Clearly, major travel companies are looking to broaden their horizons, and it's not hard to understand why. The pie is large.

The U.N. World Tourism Organization reported that the number of overnight international trips by world travelers increased 4.7% last year, to nearly 1.14 billion, a number that does not include many millions of domestic trips that did not involve crossing an international border.

It is, of course, axiomatic that the travel business is global and that consolidation is an integral part of modern commerce, but every once in a while some of us seem to need a reminder. If you do, here it is.

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