Travel Takes Another Hit?

The other day, a friend asked me if I thought the travel industry was making a strong recovery after the economic meltdown By: Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro

The other day, a friend asked me if I thought the travel industry was making a strong recovery after the economic meltdown. I told him that overall numbers are up and that the attitude is positive. But I also said that travel seems to be on the frontline of every global crisis, so the industry constantly has one eye on the horizon looking for the next storm.

“Sometimes it feels like it all depends on which day you’re asking,” I concluded.

Well, never has this been more true. As I write this, we are a couple of days away from the government travesty called the Sequestration — and, as you read this, we are most likely a couple days after that deadline. What a difference a few days make.

I’m not psychic but, assuming the government cuts go through, the travel industry post-Sequestration probably feels more chaotic than it does today, on this side of the cuts. Sequestration was designed to be such a ridiculous option that politicians would be forced to compromise to find a better solution, yet there are now legislators willing to watch whole industries go off a cliff in order to prove a point. And, yet again, the travel industry seems to be at the front of the line as the air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Agency, airports, passport centers, customs offices, transportation hubs, port workers and many others are facing massive cuts. Not to mention the effect these moves will have on consumer spending.

“Travel has the very real potential of becoming the face of the March 1 Sequester cuts,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Travel has led the nation’s economic recovery — generating more than 50 percent of all jobs created since the beginning of the recession. The indiscriminate Sequester cuts threaten to derail the travel-led recovery.”

I can only hope that reasonable people will intervene before we go through this ridiculous waste of time, money and resources. Or, as some have predicted, that the immediate aftermath of the cuts is so extreme that it snaps legislators back to reality. Otherwise, it seems like stormy weather is on the horizon once again.

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