The economic slowdown (is that term too mild? I hope not) has some companies cutting back on staff travel. This story from yesterday's Chicago Tribune notes that airlines, hotels, restaurants and others that cater to the millions of tourists and conventioneers who visit the region each year expect to see a sharp drop in visitors in the months ahead. Already, the big airlines -- United, American and Southwest -- are cutting flights to O'Hare and Midway airports "on an unprecedented scale in anticipation of a looming recession," the story says. Flights to O'Hare during the fourth quarter will be down 11 percent from 2007 levels. "People are just now doing their travel budgets [for 2009], and that's where the cuts will come," Vaughn Cordle, chief analyst for AirlineForecasts, told the Tribune. "It's going to get worse before it gets better." Conference and trade show attendance also is expected to drop, and restaurants don't expect to see an uptick until the second half of 2009. I hope the experts are being overly pessimistic. There's still a lot to be gained by seeing customers and clients in person. With any luck, things will be looking up eight months from now, when NPE 2009 comes to Chicago's McCormick Place.
Are you cutting back on travel?
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