There's a sense among travel executives that the global economy, and the travel industry in particular, is defying gravity -- or at the very least, defying predictions of a looming recession.
All the leaders we spoke with observed areas of softness or concern, but early indications of pacing and forward bookings for 2020 reveal, at worst, a slowing of growth. Brexit, U.S. presidential elections and the trade war were cited as potential challenges, but a spate of tour operation collapses and specific airlines' problems were, for the most part, brushed off as circumstantial events rather than indicators of trends.
New ship launches, a healthy hotel pipeline, robust investment activity and digital innovation were presented as causes for optimism, albeit in some instances, cautious optimism.
-- Arnie Weissmann
Manfredi Lefebvre, executive chairman of Silversea Cruises and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent
Arash Azarbarzin, president of SH Hotels & Resorts
Jack Ezon, managing partner of Embark
Simon Ferguson, president and managing director of Travelport Americas