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With the pandemic hitting so many sectors of the economy, and specifically, the travel industry, we are all eager to get back to business, even though our businesses may look a little different than before. Research shows that 53% of families plan to travel by car this summer, which brings a whole new set of opportunities for the travel industry to serve its customers. TSA screenings were up 3% from 2019 over the 4th of July weekend. There has also been double-digit growth for family-owned recreational vehicles and motorhomes, which means we’ll start to see travel products for RVs and outdoor lifestyle gear grow exponentially. And, of course, staying protected while traveling in airports, train stations, and places where people are likely to gather in numbers will lend itself to a new generation of travel products as well.
Our industry is facing a three-fold crisis – the shipping industry is at a standstill, punitive tariffs imposed on goods from China remain at 25%, and U.S. travel goods imports from GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) countries were hit with 17-20% tariffs at the beginning of the year due to Congress allowing the GSP program to lapse, all of which adversely affects the purchasing and delivery of goods to store owners, who are desperately trying to find their way back to economic recovery after the pandemic. In order for manufacturers and retailers to provide consumers with the products they need, our government must commit to taking action by immediately resolving the issues that are plaguing the receipt and distribution of goods.
For the Travel Goods Association, we thrive on making an impact. On June 24, I sent a letter to President Biden urging him to address the global shipping crisis that is affecting so many industries. Now, more than ever, people all over the world are yearning for experiences that enable them to explore new places or return to familiar environments that aren’t their living rooms and backyards.
While widespread travel isn’t likely to rebound fully until 2024, domestic travel is beginning to spring back. As we continue to see life resume some sense of normalcy, we will be here to support the industry, as we have for the past 83 years.
We look forward to seeing you and all of our TGA friends in Las Vegas to help us put our industry back together. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out and let us know how we can support you and your business during this crucial time of recovery.