As I listen to the negative financial news these days particularly the fall of the dollar I find a bit of solace in something I heard at this year’s Cruise3Sixty conference. During a panel discussion titled “Profiting From Affluence,” one of the panelists said, “Today’s travelers are convinced that travel is a birthright, not a luxury.” Even in tough financial times, consumers are still going to travel. While consumers may be more value-conscious and choose destinations with cost in mind, virtually nothing will keep these travelers from the joy of leaving it all behind for a brief respite.
Keep this in mind when you read this issue’s cover story, Budget Britain. For many, Britain especially London has become the poster child for the sinking dollar. I can’t tell you how many apocryphal stories I’ve heard lately about the astounding cost of an English breakfast. Undoubtedly, Americans foolhardy enough to visit the continent despite these warnings will feel the sting of the exchange rate, but it would be just as foolish for you to believe that the exchange rate alone is going to put a total halt on travel to Europe this summer. Not only will there be clients that want to see Europe come June, the tough times we’re in actually represent a golden opportunity for you to prove your expertise by helping them find a way to enjoy the trip without breaking the bank.
Our cover story can help you do just that. And we’re not talking about youth hostels and train station benches. We’re outlining some practical considerations and options that will add value to your client’s vacation, while sacrificing little or no comfort.
Switching gears for a moment, as of April 1, our WAVE Awards ballot will be available on the home page of our Web site, TravelAgeWest.com. For those unfamiliar with these awards, WAVE stands for Western Agents Votes of Excellence, and this is a chance for you to acknowledge your favorite companies, ships, destinations, airlines, sales reps and more. This year, my fellow editors and I created 47 award categories and have picked those we think are the top choices in each. Now we turn it over to you to select the best of the best and decide who will be given the WAVE Award. The ballot will be on our site until April 30, so please make your voice heard and cast your vote today. K.S.