I have a friend in Germany. He got married just this past Sunday. I was invited to the wedding but had to decline due to a prior commitment to another friend whose wedding I will be attending and have a part in this weekend. I wasn't able to make the schedule work.
But as I looked at prices for the trip, I was rather surprised at how much the cost has gone up in the past 10 years or so. Something like a 70% increase.
It got me wondering so I started looking around the Internet at travel websites and looked at some sites with statistics. U.S. citizens traveled the world in droves in the mid-80's all the way through the early 90's recession. It started to fall off in the late 90's and then an abrupt stop around 2001 for obvious reasons. Travel picked up again in 2002 and on and started dropping again in 2006-2007 when economic times started kicking us in the collective junk.
But even then, I noticed that the travel rates never got to more than 60% of what it was pre-2001. Granted, doesn't seem like alot but pre-2001, it was something like 20-30 million international trips a year over the entire population for business or pleasure. After, it barely gets to 15 million. That's a BIG difference.
So I talked to my friend to see how his wedding went and so on and we got to talking about the costs and such. He works for Sheraton Suites so he sees hard numbers for most of Europe all the time. He said that it has fallen off drastically and part of the reason Sheraton Suites had layoffs a couple years ago was the lack of travel from the U.S. tourists who tend to be the "spendiest" tourists out there. He also said that there is a question in tourism related travel out there, not just in Europe but the world over, of "Where are the Americans?" We apparently don't go anywhere anymore.
So it got me wondering why people aren't traveling anymore. Aside from the cost, are there other reasons? Is it because of the anti-American attitude that seems pre-dominant in the news media? (BTW, my friend says that's largely manufactured by politicians and not indicative of most of the population in any European country, even France.) Is it a lack of interest? Is it all the security hoops you have to jump through now? Yeah, the economy is a drag but we hit very hard times in the 90's as well and travel didn't drop off more than 10%. What changed this time around?