March 26th, 2012
01:23 PM GMT
London (CNN) – I am frequently asked whether I get tired of traveling, all the hassles and difficulties that go with a life on the road. Obviously, sometimes it is physically exhausting, especially when flights are late and the descriptions of hotels are more enthusiastic than accurate. But I never really get tired of the magic and delight of a life on the road.
This has been very much in my mind as we start the new series of CNN Business Traveller.
Ten years after it first took to the air, it is legitimate perhaps to ask, what new there is to report? After all, the show has been to most parts of the world (not all - there are still some notable exceptions) and we have covered everything from the super commuter to traveling women and spent more hours than decent in planes, trains and automobiles.
The fact is there is a huge amount to bring to your screens since the last series ended a couple of years ago. The aftermath of the great recession has led to some significant changes in the past couple of years.
Take the airlines - United and Continental have merged to create the world's biggest airline. Lufthansa bought BMI and has sold it to BA who will close down the brand. Emirates has been buying A380s galore and going head to head with its national rival Etihad.
Frequent-flyer programs remain as popular as ever. Even though there are so many complaints about how difficult it actually is to redeem miles and get a ticket it seems we still collect the miles as if they are going out of fashion.
In the hotel world there is now a new premium on luxury, with all the major brands either expanding existing brands or opening up new ones. The talk today is about "building relationships" rather than just plying us with more gadgets. Hotels want to "understand our lives" and provide more than just a good night's sleep; although general managers still agree, the good night's sleep is still the starting point for all hotels, regardless of star rating.
Of course, the rise of China and India in the travel market, both inbound and outbound, is the single biggest trend shift we are seeing. The numbers, if they follow through, will be huge. Within short order, China will rapidly become the single-largest market for international travel to rival the United States and Europe. Catering for this has vast implications for everyone in the travel industry chain ... from governments providing visas, to airlines and capacity, to hotels needing more multi-lingual staff.
One thing will not change - we will not throw the baby out with the bathwater in the new Business Traveller. So there will still be that incredible feeling of celebrating the wonders of travel as we bring you the very best we can. A sense of fun at the new things we discover, and of course, we won't hesitate to hold the industry to account when they try to rob us blind with ancillary charges that smack more of daylight robbery than legitimate choices for travelers.
So, you are most welcome on board. Please, make yourself comfortable, fasten your seat belt, ensure your tray table is in the upright and stowed position. CNN Business Traveller is back.
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