As 2017 draws to a close we take a reflective look back over a year filled with so many events that it would be impossible to list them all. As always travel issues have taken up plenty of media column inches, whether it’s been due to adverse weather, natural disasters, industrial strikes, terrorist attacks, or political instability. 2017 was the year that saw the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 finally called off, leaving us no closer to knowing what really happened to the ill-fated flight. Qatar Airways celebrated the completion of the longest ever commercial flight when one of its Boeing 777’s landed in Auckland following a non-stop flight of more than 16 hours, and popular airline Monarch collapsed after almost 50 years of flying, becoming the biggest airline in British history to fail.

By signing the Article 50 letter Theresa May officially triggered Brexit back in March. The following month she confidently called a snap election that resulted in a hung parliament costing the conservative party their overall majority, Brexit negotiations have been stalling ever since.

London’s iconic ‘Big Ben’ chimed for the last time in August, marking the beginning of a four year programme of restoration work to its tower, and Apple became the first company to be valued at over $800 billion. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos briefly became the world’s richest man with a fortune of $91.4 billion, overtaking Bill Gates for the first time. The celebrations were somewhat short-lived though, as he only held the title of ‘World’s Richest Man’ for half a day!

So what do you buy the person who has everything?

2017 was a record year for auction houses the world over, with a host of rare collectables coming to market. In 1922 Albert Einstein wrote his ‘Theory of Happiness’ and offered it to a bellboy in place of a tip. 2017 saw the hand written note command $1.56 million at auction. Scribbled on a piece of hotel stationary and signed by one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century the ‘Theory of Happiness’ reads:  ‘A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness’ – we’re pretty sure Einstein’s theory of happiness made its anonymous seller very happy indeed! The auctioneers hammer came down on gemstones and statues, antiques and rare cars but nothing came close to what is without doubt the sale of the century – Leonardo di Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’. Confirmed as a lost original, the painting eventually sold for $450.3 million, breaking all records for art sales.

In the year that saw Saudi Arabia end its 35 year ban on cinemas the Walt Disney Corporation bought up most of 21st Century Fox forking out $52.4 billion for control, and the latest Star Wars release took more than $450million in its opening weekend!

Let’s bring those numbers back down to a more comprehendible size. A new £1 coin was introduced in 2017– the first for 30 years, including additional security features to prevent counterfeiting.

It was a great year for British cycling as Chris Froome won the coveted Tour de France – His fourth win, making him one of the most successful riders in the history of the Tour. Russia was banned from the next winter Olympics in South Korea due to state-sponsored doping, and it was announced by the Olympic Committee that Paris will host the 2024 Olympic games, followed by Los Angeles in 2028.

Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, an act that has been dividing opinion around the world ever since. Remember the ‘travel ban’ that was a ban, but wasn’t a ban – that kept us busy!

It was a bad year for the environment and a threat to world peace as North Korea tested its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017. The rouge state continues developing and testing nuclear weapons in spite of worldwide condemnation and crippling economic sanctions. Our planet took a direct hit in 2017 when the new U.S administration announced it would not be cutting carbon emissions or reducing greenhouse pollution in-line with previously agreed levels. However it’s not all bad news, the announcement by several nations to phase out diesel and petrol powered vehicles should give the environment a much needed boost. The British government has announced plans to ban all petrol and diesel cars by 2040.               

It has been another busy year for Traveleads. Processing hundreds of travel transactions on a daily basis means that whenever the unforeseen happens our teams are always the first point of contact for travellers needing urgent help and assistance. Throughout 2017 our staff have helped thousands of businesses with their travel arrangements and duty of care responsibilities. We started 2017 by launching our new travel app ‘TravAssist’ which was designed specifically to make travelling less complicated, so we are delighted to be starting 2018 with a fantastic new partnership and service that allows travellers to access real-time live interpretation services whenever they travel, meaning that in the event of an emergency they will be able to receive instruction in English - even in regions where English might not be widely spoken. But it’s not just for emergencies, interpretation services break down language barriers making business meetings clearer, more productive and ultimately more successful. For more information on this service please speak to your Traveleads account manager.

Wherever business takes you in the New Year, we wish you a safe and successful trip. To all of those who have travelled with us throughout 2017 we thank you for choosing Traveleads as your preferred and trusted travel partner and we look forward to taking you safely through 2018.

If you would like the peace of mind and security that travelling with Traveleads offers, call us on 0113 245 7745 or email corporatesales@traveleads.net

We wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year

Traveleads