Editor’s Note

WINTER 2018 | VOL. 43 NO. 4

Stability Amidst Change

This is the Travel Issue of Travel Goods Showcase, but looking at the table of contents, the common thread I see running through its features isn’t travel – it’s change. And that’s a good thing.

In the feature “Environmental Stewardship in the Travel Goods Industry,” environmental impact has become a 21st century marketing factor. With new products, environmental cost is a real design element, right up there with function, weight and style.

We learn that Baby Boomers no longer rule the marketplace roost in “Retire Early and Often – Gypsies of the New Millennium.” The country’s 75 million millennials make up 25% of the total population, 30% of voters, and will overtake Baby Boomers as the largest generational demographic segment. And they outspend every other generation when it comes to travel – 6% more than Boomers, and a whopping 26% more than Gen-Xers.

Beyond these pages, travel habits aren’t what they used to be. The Internet has replaced guidebooks. Foreign language phrasebooks have given way to smartphone-powered translators.

But change also creates opportunity. Witness travel agencies: Once a traveler’s mainstay, they were practically killed off by the rise of Orbitz, Expedia and Priceline – and again by Airbnb and Uber – but they’re on the comeback. As an industry they’re projected to generate more than $18 billion this year (up from $15 billion in 2015, and $12 billion in 2010), because they’ve evolved and adapted.

Look at how vital change is for our industry. If people’s travel habits didn’t change we’d still be selling steamer trunks. But instead we’ve reinvented ourselves and our products, with wheeled luggage, polycarbonate hardshells, 4-wheelers and more. Accessories have gone from afterthought or add-on to a retailing staple.

Change without landmarks and stable viewpoints is chaotic. At times of great change, constants are more difficult to come by and trends are more difficult to spot. Which is why the industry needs a point of stability, like The Travel Goods Show.

In the feature “It’s Time to be Bold,” you’ll catch a glimpse of what’s in store for the industry’s most important event. The 2019 Show will still be the industry’s touchstone and vantage point, even as it evolves to account for our ever-changing world. It’s still the best vantage point for spotting trends and changes. And still the very best place to be if you’re lucky enough to work in this industry.

I hope to see you there.