Despite escalating fuel costs and a sluggish U.S. economy, cruise line officials have are optimistic about the new year. "The booking picture is quite strong at this time," Howard Frank, Carnival Corp. vice chairman, said to investors last month. Growing demand in both the European and Caribbean markets may help the bottom line, analysts say.
Argentina, Egypt, China and Bali will emerge as travel hot spots in 2008, according to London-based The Times newspaper. In airline news, expect to see all-business class services from both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. In addition, adventure travel packages, including mountain biking and hiking tours, are among 2008's hip new travel trends.
Carnival Corp.'s record earnings in 2007 spells good news for the rest of the industry, analysts say. The cruise operator's robust annual financial performance "affirmed positive industry trends in 2008," said Bank of America equity analyst Michael Savner.
Although most forecasts regarding the travel industry in 2008 are optimistic, some economists and analysts suggest that four factors, including credit, crude oil prices, consumer confidence and currency exchange rates, could have a negative impact. Writing for Travel Weekly, Lester Craft reviews surveys, studies, analysts' predictions and more for the upcoming year of travel.