The State of Travel in 2010: Tom Hale, Backroads
Tom Hale, founder and president, Backroads
What’s the state of the travel world as we enter 2010? I posed four questions to each of the leaders of the Adventure Collection companies to get their assessments of the travel industry as we start the new year. In the days to come, I’ll be posting their responses. We begin with Tom Hale of Backroads.
1. Surveying the travel industry today, how would you compare where we are in Jan. 2010 to where we were in Jan. 2009?
Seeing as how the world looked pretty grim a year ago, the difference in how the travel industry looks now is night and day better. Backroads is up 20 percent and climbing year over year. We expect to be up at least 25 percent over 2009. Virtually every one of our segments is up, with Europe leading the pack. Our Premiere hotels segment is looking especially positive as are Private/Custom trips. All in all, it feels very good to be out from under the global economic meltdown cloud.
2. Where do you think the industry is headed this year?
3. What do you think will be the emerging dominant trends in travel and particularly adventure travel this year?
I think people will get back to traveling further from home. While I don’t expect an immediate return to 2008 levels, I think there is a certain amount of pent-up demand that will help all trends. People want rich experiences versus more “stuff,” so all Adventure Collection companies are well positioned. We are all about rich experiences.
4. What for you are the principal inspirations/reasons for people to travel in 2010?
To connect with people — one’s own family/loved ones. Meet new people in fascinating circumstances. Explore new cultures. Do so in a healthy and invigorating manner. Regenerate oneself and return with a renewed sense of appreciation for all we have. Take a break from the mundane. Treat oneself to seeing the world in style. Bike and hike and do really great and exciting things that help connect one with nature. Have a little fun.