“We have truly arrived at the golden age of travel,” said Ninan Chacko, CTC, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, one of North America’s largest travel agency companies. During a state of the travel industry event held earlier today at the company’s global headquarters in New York City, Chacko stated, “The world has shrunk and so many places are now accessible to travelers while, at the same time, the price of travel continues to be extremely competitive, creating strong value for consumers. Add to that the level of personalization in travel now available which is driving consumers to increasingly seek the expertise of professional travel advisors to ensure their journey is tailored and fulfilling, and 2019 has many opportunities for the travel industry.”
Metrics across the travel industry show anticipated growth in 2019:
- 30 million consumers are expected to cruise in 2019, up 6 percent from 2018, while 25 new ocean-going ships are scheduled to enter service this year, including 12 expedition ships, catering to a growing trend in expedition cruising, according to the Cruise Lines International Association and Seatrade.
- CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research projects a 10th consecutive year of growth for U.S. hotels and a fifth straight year of record occupancy while significant investment by the hotel industry in new properties, experiences and automation proliferate.
- GDP predictions are positive for most regions of the world signaling anticipated growth in both corporate and leisure travel while in December 2018 the U.S. dollar hit its strongest level in 30 years, boding well for outbound international travel among Americans.
- Airlines are continuing to add new equipment, new routes and new destinations and investing heavily in the customer experience, ranging from WiFi and in-flight entertainment to seating in premium cabins and improved security automation. At the same time, the average cost for international and domestic flights has not increased significantly, according to Travel Leaders Group sales information.
- A recent survey among more than 3,500 consumers, conducted by Travel Leaders Group, concluded that 91 percent of North American consumers plan to travel the same or more in 2019 versus the year prior while nearly 90 percent plan to spend the same or more this year.
- Specialty and niche travel are continuing to accelerate at breakneck speed with 36 percent of respondents in the Travel Leaders Group survey indicating their travels, at least in part, will involve solo trips. Seventy percent of consumers are now placing emphasis on culinary offerings when choosing a travel destination while 63 percent make a point of trying local or regional wines and 44 percent try local craft beers when traveling. A separate Travel Leaders Group survey from 2018 conducted among travel advisors indicated 86 percent of respondents had experienced growth in adventure travel sales over the past three years.
- A Phocuswright survey from late 2018 indicates a 13 percent increase in the U.S. travel agency market to $127 billion by 2021.
“We are looking forward to an extraordinary year for travel in 2019 and, given the scale and opportunity for travel experiences, along with increasingly demanding consumers, professional travel advisors are on the upswing with anticipated growth for the travel agency sector this year and beyond,” said Chacko.
Travel Leaders Group is home to more than 20 travel industry brands with collective annual sales of more than $20 billion. For additional information on Travel Leaders Group, visit travelleadersgroup.com.
About Travel Leaders Group Travel Leaders Group (www.TravelLeadersGroup.com) is transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients through our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers, Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands. With over 6,000 agency locations, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest travel agency companies. Travelers also have access to The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a portfolio of select travel offers including discounts on international and domestic flights, value-added benefits at lodging establishments, shipboard credits on cruises and savings on escorted and vacation packages. Membership to The Travel Collection is offered at no additional cost to U.S. American Express Gold Card, Business Gold Rewards Card, Platinum Card® and Business Platinum Card® Members. For more information visit www.TheTravelCollection.com.