Abta17: Industry in ‘good shape’ despite uncertainty

Abta17: Industry in ‘good shape’ despite uncertainty

Industry leaders have declared the UK industry “fundamentally in good shape” despite the failure of Monarch and the uncertainty around Brexit.

Alistair Rowland Specialist Retail Group general manager for the Midcounties Co-operative, said: “We’re in lots of sectors at the Co-op and travel is a leading light.”

He told The Travel Convention in the Azores: “The market is pretty resilient and 2018 looks remarkably strong. Whatever happens, consumers are going to go on holiday. Our job is to make it happen for them.”

Stuart Leven, Royal Caribbean Cruises vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “Fundamentally, the industry is in good shape.

“The challenge we face in the cruise industry is getting the product to satisfy demand. I don’t see these issues making a massive dent in consumer confidence.”

Iglu.com chief executive Richard Downs agreed, saying: “There is uncertainty, but we’re talking about growth in GDP and in demand for more experiences. [The market for] 2018 looks exciting.”

Rowland, Leven and Downs all sit on the board of Abta.

Asked about the Brexit process, Leven said: “I would like a clear understanding that our guests can move across borders and a clear understanding of the terms on which we will be doing business.

“I would also like an understanding of how the new Package Travel Directive will work. But I suspect we’ll understand none of that [in 12 months’ time].

“What I would most like is [for the government] to get freedom to travel resolved as soon as possible.”

He said: “The government gave a stark view of the situation if a deal is not done.”

But Leven added: “We’re now selling holidays for after March 2019 [when Britain is due to leave the EU] and it is not deterring customers.

“I suspect we’ll go through years of uncertainty as businesses, but people will still go away on holiday.”

Travel Weekly’s full coverage of The Travel Convention

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