Tomorrow we go to the polls to elect a new President of the United States. Will it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Who knows! And I am not here to endorse, persuade, or pontificate on the election beyond saying that I probably speak for the majority when I say that we will all be glad to have it over! But once the new administration takes over, things for the travel industry will change.
While no one knows for sure what might happen, you can be sure that we will need to keep an eye on things; and it will be very important for us, as an industry, to have an advocate for us in Washington. Hey, ASTA, I am talking to you.
In 2007, George W. Bush’s administration instituted the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The legislation was partially to help the industry recover from the economic devastation of 9/11 and get people traveling again. When it was first launched, chaos ensued and no one was sure what was needed (in terms of documentation) to travel to the Caribbean basin and Mexico. Delays processing passports and cards were legendary, requiring clients to renew or request passports 8 to 12 weeks in advance. Several of my clients made the trip to New York or Washington to have their passports issued by the Passport office as their trips were in jeopardy. And we all know that insurance will not cover a cancellation for a lack of passport.
Back then, who ever thought that the embargo against Cuba would be lifted and travel would resume back to the island? In May of this year, President Obama’s administration began to ease the restrictions to the once virtually banned nation. Cruise lines and hoteliers lined up and began chomping at the bit to get a piece of a half-century’s worth of pent up travel demand. As the Cuba restrictions continue to relax, this will be a boon for our industry and one that we need to watch carefully in order to make sure we are positioned to capitalize.
As to my crystal ball and the future… it is anyone’s guess; mine is broken. With both candidates, there is a lot in play on the global playing field. Trade with China, Mexican relations, Brexit, and of course, the ongoing threat of international and domestic terrorism are all on the table and of concern to our industry.
How’s your crystal ball? Have any ideas? Leave a comment!