By Christine Graf
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2020 is on record as the worst year ever for global tourism. Worldwide travel revenues decreased by $1.3 trillion and are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.
This applies to older people seeking getaways from work or retirees with time on their hands.
“I’ve been in business for 47 years, and this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said Ed Plog, president of Playbill Travel in Saratoga Springs. “I’ve been through airline defaults, fare wars, 9/11, and the Great Recession, and I’ve never experienced anything as bad as this for the industry.”
Plog said he is “ecstatic” that business is beginning to rebound and that his company’s specialty cruises are once again in high demand.
Because of the widespread COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships at the beginning of the pandemic, the cruise industry has been especially hard hit. Before that, it was one of the fastest growing segments of the global tourism industry. Although cruises attract people of all ages, they have always been especially popular with the 50-plus demographic.
At Live Life Travel in Saratoga Spring, owner Anne Gordon said business is booming.
For her clients that are in the 50-plus demographic, the company arranges a lot of what Gordon described as “celebration travel.” For example, she recently planned an anniversary trip to Iceland.
“We do a lot of 50th and 40th anniversaries, and we’re doing a lot more 50th birthdays. We’re also getting a lot of requests for multi-generational trips to the Caribbean for next February break and April break. Families are so ready to vacation again, ” she said. “Everything we do is very unique to each client. Our agency doesn’t have anything pre-packaged.”