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Greetings and Salutations my fellow travel professionals. I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying a busy season. With tough economic time here we are all feeling the pinch. We are also grappling with the effects of the recession on our chosen occupation. Some of us will have to take a second job to survive while others may leave the industry all together. It is a shake out period. It will be tough, but the end result for those of us who survive is a greater placement for the recovery. In a recent poll of IATM membership as a whole, a large percent of us are willing to take a pay cut to keep working (see pole results online).

This might be sound advice considering an alternative of not working in our chosen profession. If ever you would consider a pay cut, this would be the time, but I do not recommend it. We represent a very small portion of the cost of a package tour.

Transportation, Lodging and meals each account for a larger cost for the tour company. We can see that each of these supplier groups have cut their own costs and lowered their prices. This can account for the majority of the saving to a tour. Our salary need not be lowered.

If the salary of Tour Managers and Tour Guides was lowered here in the Americas, we would see a drop in quality. The best and brightest amongst us might seek economic survival through other career paths. It would hurt our standing as professionals and lower our overall quality. We continue to fight to increase our standing as professionals and lowering our pay lowers our value. Nobody wants to be valued less.

Many economists believe that our tremendous increase in money supply will eventually yield inflation. If this is to occur, we are soon going to be negotiating with tour companies for raises. Imagine if a 5% yearly raise actually translates into a pay cut. This is reality when inflation soars to 6% or 7%. Since the cost of goods is higher, the value of money is lower. Inflation lowers our buying power. Inflation is either a strong possibility or an eventuality. If we were to lower our pay now for the sake of increased work, it would put us at an increased disadvantage when inflation comes to attack and we start to negotiate for higher raises then we already receive.

When it comes down to it, we are all trying to work hard, enjoy ourselves and live happy lives. Each of us must wrestle with the challenges of getting tours. Please remember that your actions do have an impact on all of us. Together we are raising our standard of professionalism, and together we acknowledge that we are a valuable link in Package tourism market.

Scott MacScott CTM.



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