Travel Goods Association
Promoting the Growth, Profitablity & Image of the Travel Goods Industry

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It's Your Story

Welcome to a very special issue of Travel Goods Showcase, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of TGA's founding. This milestone has touched the lives of everyone reading this magazine, and probably shaped the nature of travel as much as any other factor in the last 75 years.

This is also a pretty special issue for me, personally. I was hired as the editor-in-chief of this magazine in September of 1988, and my very first issue celebrated the Association's 50th anniversary. Little did I know, 25 years ago, that travel goods would become my career!

It's shocking to think of all the changes I've witnessed in our industry:

  • The design ripples created by Bob Plath's invention of the 2-wheeled Rollaboard® in 1987.
  • The appearance of laptop computers in the late 1980s, and how they've become the central fixture today's business bags are built around.
  • The sea change wrought by 9/11, which forever altered how we travel and how we pack, bringing security and safety to the fore.
  • The demise of traditional travel agencies, thanks to the Internet — and how travel goods retailers have jumped in to fill that informational void.
  • The ascendance, and dominance, of ballistic cloth and other synthetic materials. Hardside luggage giving way to softsides, and the current market domination by next-gen hardsides.
  • The proliferation of the carry-on, as luggage and travel philosophy.
  • The rise of offshore manufacturing.
  • The consolidating retail landscape — just in my neck of the woods Macy's + Bamberger's + Wanamaker's + Strawbridge & Clothier + Hecht's = today's Macy's.
  • 24/7 connectivity, thanks to the ubiquity of electronics — and how the travel goods industry is covering, protecting and helping people take these vitally important, can't-live-without them devices with them everywhere, every day.
  • The demise of the getting-away-from-it-all vacation, thanks to that 24/7 connectivity.
  • Our increasingly cashless, increasing global economy.

Travel has changed, significantly. And probably more so in the last decade than at any other time, which has been a boon for our industry. Change is what drives us; it's what prompts consumers to seek new solutions to their travel problems and leads them to discover and then purchase our industry's myriad products.

I'd like to thank those of you who contributed stories and memorabilia for our 75th Anniversary retrospective — TGA's history is your history, and sharing these stories is as much a look back as it is a way of looking ahead, to see the arc we're on and the direction we're headed from the perspective of TGA members who were part of it, who lived this history.

Most of all, I'd like to thank all of you for being members and supporters of the Travel Goods Association. We're the industry's leading advocate, news source, rallying point and social hub, and it's all due to your presence and contributions, both to the Association and the industry at large. Believe me when I say it just wouldn't be the same without you.


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