Last week I had the pleasure of attending ITB, the largest trade show in the world, which happens every March in Berlin. The show spans 26 buildings and brings together representatives from every corner of the earth, drawing tens of thousands of travel professionals from all across Europe!
Considering the current political climate in the USA as seen from a European point of view, I expected the show to be slower than the past, fortunately, I was wrong. While meeting with other tour operators we asked how they anticipated the 2017 season to shape up. Most said it would be a flat year. The reason had little to do with what's been called the “Trump Slump” and more to do with the value of the dollar. Although some members did hear rumblings of the "Trump Effect," the strong U.S. Dollar is a much greater factor to those deciding where to travel, what types of lodging might be used, and what add-ons they would book in advance. Additionally, the strong U.S. dollar has had a much longer time to effect travelers with their decision making. The weak Canadian Dollar and free admission to all Canadian National Parks, as 2017 is their parks 125th anniversary, is working against travel to the U.S. as well. Most inbound operators that I spoke with shared the same feedback from their appointments. A few DMO's commented on rumblings of the "Trump Effected" however, it seemed to be primarily from guest who tend to stay in one location and not the Fly-Drive clients. While it is a little disheartening to hear about the strong US Dollar impacting travel decisions, it was refreshing to hear that we are not facing a double whammy, at least from many European Markets.
If you were not able to hear Ron Erdmann speak on the Forecast for International Travel, during Summit, I would encourage you to participate in his upcoming IITA webinar, April 5. Ron is a dynamic speaker who has lots of research-based knowledge to share. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from him and ask questions!
-Gary Schluter, Chairman
Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours