The Future of Travel|
Many cruisers are frequent travelers. Cruise ships go all over the world, not just to the Caribbean. I wrote a newsletter a month ago about which Presidential team has a solid record of supporting the cruise industry, and what the other side has done in relation to cruising. I won't repeat it because frankly, people have gotten a bit more tense about this election since then. This is definitely the political season, so it is very difficult to write anything without politics entering into it somehow.
But here is something I want to say; the terrorist event of 9/11 was very much a "travel-related" crisis. The attack involved jets leaving from major U.S. gateway airports that many cruisers use. The attacks happened in September, a month when there are still plenty of Americans traveling overseas.
So, this brings me to my concern. I have started a Euro-watch on these newsletters and today the Euro dropped to another record low, and the biggest drop in a single day in years. The Euro is now down to $1.28. If this continues, and many economists believe it will, we should have a very robust summer cruising season for Americans in Europe. It is predicted that the U.S. should be emerging from our recession by then, but it will just be gaining steam in Europe.
Last summer, 2008, many European cruises will filled with European nationals taking advantage of the strong Euro based on their strong local economy. This year, cruises will be more expensive to them and they will have less money to spend. This means the cruise lines will probably be giving Americans plenty of incentives to travel to Europe this summer, and we should! Fuel is currently cheaper than it has been in years, and the Euro/Dollar exchange rate will be more favorable to us, and the economy will be slow in Europe making most things cheaper.
Naturally, this is all speculation, but I predict many of us will be traveling next summer, and this is where my concern comes to play. I do not know right now who will be elected President, but Barack Obama is leading in the polls and his running mate, Joe Biden, just gave out a stern warning that our enemies will somehow be "testing" our new President sometime in the next six months. This could apply equally to McCain, we do not know.
Either way, the indications are that we need to watch our tails overseas right now. Biden's warning came just after a security briefing he attended with our military intelligence, and yesterday morning former secretary of state Madeline Albright confirmed that she believes it is possible that something could happen in the next six months.
I am not saying this to scare anyone away from cruising or traveling overseas. Just the opposite. I am encouraging you to go overseas and act as our ambassadors to the world. Let them see your pretty, smiling faces and spread that true American goodwill throughout the world. If this recession is going to get as bad as some people believe, the world is going to need American visitors.
But while you are overseas, I highly encourage you to remain vigilant. Keep your ears and eyes open, and look for anything that seems strange to you. When the 9/11 tragedy occurred there were a few weeks when people wondered if travel would ever come back to the level of popularity it had prior to the attack. History shows that it not only came back, it exceeded that level. We don't want that to change; fear didn't stop us from traveling then and it shouldn't now. But we do need to remain vigilant because truthfully, these are uncertain times.
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