By the Numbers

It’s clear that these days there is a statistic to prove or disprove just about any position. By: Kenneth Shapiro
Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Shapiro
Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Shapiro

It’s clear that these days there is a statistic to prove or disprove just about any position. We saw plenty of this in the recent elections when candidates stood, side by side at times, discussing the same issue, and stated with absolute certainty that the numbers supported polar opposite views.

In this issue, Online Editor Monica Poling sifts through the latest research — including an original study commissioned by our parent company, Northstar Travel Media — and gathers opinions from economists in order to help agents get a clearer idea of the current and future status of the travel industry. While the economic prognosis for 2011 is a mixed bag, there is reason for optimism and, hopefully, we will see more consumers gain the confidence to take a well-earned vacation.

One of my favorite surveys mentioned in the story was released by adventure tour operator Intrepid Travel. The goal was to find out which nationality — out of five — is the most adventurous on vacation. New Zealanders came in first; Americans were dead last. Among Americans, however, Californians proved to be the most daring, which is even more proof that travelers in the West are different from other travelers. Surveys over the years have always shown that Western travelers are more likely to hold a passport and to travel internationally; more likely to head to exotic destinations and do something adventurous; more likely to use a travel agent; and, best of all for travel agents, they see the value of these experiences and pay accordingly for the opportunity.

These tendencies might mean that travel agents in the West will see a quicker rebound than their counterparts in the rest of the country. At least, that’s the position I’m going to take — and, of course, I have the stats to back that up.
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