Tourism and the airline industry

As I read articles about airlines cutting flights and raising prices to increase their profits, I consider what the impact will be on our business.

The airlines are in business to make a profit, and while that’s what they are supposed to do, increased prices mean fewer people flying. And fewer people flying means less heads in beds. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau, U.S. airlines carried 52.5 million passengers in February 2013 — 1.2 % less than in February 2012.

Some consider the airlines our partners in tourism. But really they are the transportation industry that delivers our guests. The hospitality industry goal is to fill rooms, restaurant seats, spa treatment rooms and theme parks at the highest price the market warrants.

As pricing continues to increase, it’s coming to a point where the leisure traveler will not fly due to cost. Properties in high-end luxury markets are less impacted, but when tickets are US$500 per person and a family of four is traveling, that’s a lot of vacation budget already spent before they even check in. While hoteliers have no control over airline prices, we are a strong force in the tourism industry. The best way to try and make an impact on fewer people flying is to make sure our voices are heard with our elected officials, emphasizing why airlifts to our destinations are needed. At a minimum, the next time an airline employee asks you for an industry rate, ask them first for their industry rate.