Time to Exhale | Travel Research Online


Time to Exhale

The Election is over. Hallelujah!

Election years are well known to be bad for markets, because they introduce an element of uncertainty, and markets don’t like uncertainty.

The midterm of a president’s first term is particularly troublesome. According to Jeff Sommer, in the New York Times, “Numbers going back more than a century show that the second year has generally been the weakest for the stock market in a president’s term.”

In this case, what’s true for the stock market is also historically true for the travel industry. In my experience of interviewing countless tour operators for decades, I have found it to be an accepted principle of business that elections have a dampening effect on travel because they introduce elements of uncertainty. The tendency may be stronger or weaker in different election years, but it must be taken into consideration when tour operators are making their projections for the coming year or two.

So, we may now celebrate the end of that influence. This election is over. And that’s good news for the travel industry. Time to exhale.

In the case of Midterm 2022, there have been so many unprecedented events that are factors in the performance of markets that it’s hard to figure out how they all shake out. We’re still experiencing chain reactions from events set off by a global pandemic that killed a million Americans, shut down the economy, and wreaked social havoc on the country. The waning of Covid has unleashed a tirade of pent-up demand. That tsunami more than offsets the depressing effect of an election year. People are so hungry for travel now that “revenge travel” has become a volcanic force completely overpowering all other factors.

And there are plenty of other factors that send their own shockwaves through the world. The war in Ukraine has accentuated supply chain woes originally caused by the pandemic, causing shortages and inflation worldwide, along with a cascade of other problems. But, although in previous times those conditions might have depressed travel demand, at this time any negative effect seems negligible.

In some ways, you could say the travel industry is now in a sort of reverse perfect storm. The confluence of events that destroyed travel in 2020, has now gone into reverse, and the signs for 2023 are excellent.

However much negative drag the election may have exerted on the travel industry, you can now knock that off the table. That negative has become a positive. It’s time for the Great National Exhalation.

It’s been a tense election season, with a lot of talk about possible violence stemming from it. It’s not uncommon to even hear talk of possible civil war on the news. So, it has been a great relief that that has not happened. Congratulations America!

The morning after an election is like the passing of a great storm. The democratic will of the people has expressed itself in a colossal, solemn stroke. It is humbling, and I am deeply grateful to live in a country that has elections.

I may not like what the will of the people expresses in a given election—seems I have been on the losing side more often than the winning side—but, either way, I am in awe of the election itself.

Win or lose, I think Americans showed themselves well in this moment in history. In spite of fears, we’ve gotten through without any major incidents. We have resolved our differences for the moment with votes and not weapons. And for that I am very grateful. Now the pendulum will swing back in some other direction, who knows how?

It’s always political season in America, but now that this election is over, we can ease up a moment, take a breath, hope for the best, and try to remember that as Americans we have more in common than that which separates us.

God bless America.

headshot of David Cogswell

David Cogswell is a freelance writer working remotely, from wherever he is at the moment. Born at the dead center of the United States during the last century, he has been incessantly moving and exploring for decades. His articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Fox News, Luxury Travel Magazine, Travel Weekly, Travel Market Report, Travel Agent Magazine, TravelPulse.com, Quirkycruise.com, and other publications. He is the author of four books and a contributor to several others. He was last seen somewhere in the Northeast US.

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