Light at the End of the Tunnel?

By Nate Herman

First, I must acknowledge the reality from which I am writing to you as we approach the end of May. The industry has suffered a quintuple indignity. Travel has stopped, retail has dropped off a cliff, the government’s bailout program has fallen short, and, as the small guys, we still have to pay our rent and all of our bills in full and on time, unlike many of our bigger competitors. Oh yeah, and we just passed the one-year anniversary of having to pay a 25% punitive tariff on the majority of products we sell.

But I am also writing to you the day before the unofficial launch of the summer travel season – Memorial Day weekend. And you know what? It isn’t all bad. Many people I know are traveling this weekend. People are also looking for any form of relief from “lockdown” cabin fever. I have seen a flood of pictures on social media of friends hiking, camping, and embracing the outdoors like never before.

If you look for it, really hard, there are positive signs elsewhere. Europe has begun to open up again to tourists, led by Italy. The cruise industry is talking about restarting this fall and bookings for 2021 are really strong.

And all of us have seen those pictures of crowded planes. While those pictures raise other serious questions, it does mean that people are ready to travel.

Travel might look different, and utilize different modes of transportation, but it’s there, and it’s growing slowly but surely.

In addition this week, the last of the states finally started to reopen retail, albeit slowly.

To butcher my metaphors, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore. But I do see some light at the end of this very long tunnel.

Through it all let’s not forget this is an industry that survived 9/11 and the Great Recession. With this glimmer of hope, I leave you with a quote from a not so famous movie that serves this industry well during this unprecedented time – “Never give up, never surrender.”

For more information, please contact TGA’s Nate Herman at or 202-853-9351.