The downturn is not all doom and gloom for the travel industry - some companies are still recruiting.
Hays Travel is seeking cruise and ski specialists as these areas continue to thrive during the economic crisis.
Managing director John Hays said some shops were struggling to cope with the demand for cruise and ski and the company is looking to recruit about 20 people. Hays Travel is also looking to boost its homeworking team in the northeast.
Despite the success of these areas, Hays admitted business was "difficult", although not as bad as the "worst-case scenario".
In the Independence Group, Hays is focusing on making sure no members reach "distress levels" and the head office team is visiting agencies to provide practical advice.
He said: "We have tried to be pragmatic and realistic. We have to prepare everyone for a difficult 2009 and our objective is not to lose any members because they have gone out of business."
Hays Beds, Hays' accommodation-only provider, is now being used across all the Hays Travel shops and is about to be rolled out to the Independence Group. A new selling system, iSell, is being implemented across the shops and homeworker network.
Meanwhile, Travel Counsellors says it has seen an increase in enquiries from travel agency owners who are looking to move into working from home. It believes the rising costs of running a retail outlet are encouraging agents to look at alternative ways of working.
Travel Counsellors managing director Steve Byrne said: "There is no doubt life is tougher than ever on the high street, which is why we are seeing a marked increase in enquiries from agency owners."
Travel Counsellors is running a webcast on January 29 to encourage travel agents into homeworking. Go to travelcounsellors.com/tctv for details.
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