Back in April, I predicted the North American travel industry would emerge from this pandemic about the same size as it was 20-25 years ago. The biggest indicator is the cruise industry, where in the last 30-days, three smaller cruise lines have filed bankruptcy and the large lines are shedding older tonnage like a golden retriever in springtime.
International travel is at a virtual standstill, with no end in sight. Everyone has been suggesting that travel would resume late 2020 or early 2021. A number of people, myself included, are having serious doubts as to the viability of this. As I stated in an earlier column, the virus will determine the timetable, not our political leaders or industry executives.
While it may difficult to be optimistic, it’s not all doom and gloom. According to the US Travel Association, spending by international visitors produced $255 billion in export income for the US economy in 2019. Obviously times have changed, but I mention these numbers to add light to the huge potential that many of us simply take for granted. Domestic destinations are booming – particularly here in the Pacific Northwest.
I am a huge fan, but it always amazes me that when we are at Mt. Rainier, for example, foreign tourists seem to outnumber their US counterparts by a wide margin. Now with the pandemic, people are rediscovering our own “National Treasures.” For many it harkens back to yesteryear, when a trip (see below) to a national park was a rite of passage. Even the Griswold’s stopped by the Grand Canyon. However, the virus is affecting travel to the parks as well limiting the number of staff and rangers on duty.
Everyone likes to eat and drink! These areas are not limited to Napa and Sonoma. Washington is the second largest wine producer in the USA. In addition to the wineries in Eastern Washington, the small village of Woodinville, twenty-minutes north of Seattle boasts around 150 tasting rooms anchored by the Chateau St. Michelle Winery.
The finger lakes region in New York is spectacular right now and who knows, the Catskills resorts may even make a comeback- just saying.
RV Ownership and Rentals
RVs are having their best year ever – and why not? Whether you are the captain of a land yacht or pulling a shiny Airstream trailer, the party travels with you. No need for hotels or restaurants. Many are completely self-contained with propane, generator, and tanks for water and waste. The offerings can range from “dry camping” (no local utilities) on state or federal forest land to full-fledged, five-star RV resorts. But make sure you have a reservation. Camp and RV sites are booked solid again to limited capacity due to social distancing.
You will have to get creative to survive until international travel resumes, but your options here in North America are endless and the envy of tourists around the world. Let’s play in our own backyard for a change.
Dan Chappelle is the leading authority on sales performance in the travel and tourism industry. His best-selling book “Get Your S.H.I.P. Together – The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales” is available worldwide on Amazon and Audible. To learn more about his proprietary sales training programs, visit www.WealthyTravelAgent.com
© 2020 Dan Chappelle / The Wealthy Travel Agent Academy