According to the playwright and poet William Congreve, “uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing”.
And while he clearly wasn’t thinking about the safety of tourists when he penned those words 300 years ago, the quote sums up the dilemma faced by many in the industry.
Most would agree with the notion that many of the delights of travel relate to broadening horizons and discovering new and original experiences, but few would currently concur with the second point.
Whether it is the threat of terror, disputes over cross-border access or caution over currency fluctuations and travellers’ rights – including what you can now take on some flights in the cabin – the quest for solidity, assurance and peace of mind is paramount to consumers.
As I said in this column two weeks ago, directing clients to FCO travel advice must be part of the booking process. But as Abta’s Nikki White writes this week, security goes far beyond advice about terror threats.
Industry leaders are acutely aware of the delicate position, with cruise line bosses last week offsetting upbeat messages with provisos about the shifting sands of cross-border access. But it is still possible to draw positives for the trade, as potential customers buffeted on a daily basis by conflicting opinions, advice and changes to the law increasingly turn to valued opinions – from friends, family or trusted advisors – before making a purchase.
The “uncertainty and expectation” of a holiday remains a true joy of life. We all have a role to play to ensure customers feel secure enough to continue experiencing it.
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