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2017, the Best Year Ever

Irecently retweeted an interview with the CEO of Delta Air Lines that SKIFT published following its annual forum in New York. As I have previously written, I recommend its free daily e-newsletter about travel industry issues and trends. You can sign up at

Delta CEO Ed Bastian admitted he thought his company’s business would be down in 2017. He mentioned terrorism incidents around the globe, nationalistic initiatives in various countries and political decisions at home that would curtail travel to the United States as factors in his thinking.

To his pleasant surprise, he was wrong. His airline had its best year ever. In his explanation, he used the term “resilience” to describe the mind-set of travelers in general.

“Resilience” is a great term, but I don’t believe it adequately describes what is happening with worldwide travel right now. It’s much more than that.

The right to travel and enjoy other cultures has become inalienable to many people in many countries. Restrictions on travel just aren’t tolerated anymore by many populations throughout the world.

For example, Chinese travelers are coming to America by the millions. They still live in a country whose government is in many ways oppressive, but more than 60 million Chinese now have passports, and they are not going to be told they cannot travel. That genie is out of the bottle.

In our country, threats and life-altering incidents are not deterring Americans from seeing the places they want to see. You may have members who cannot afford a trip from time to time, but they’re never going to stop seeing travel as one of the most enriching aspects of their lives.

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Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.