We take a look through the Travel Weekly archives in our 50th year to find out what was making the headlines 10, 25 and 45 years ago
• Travel Weekly columnist Maureen Hill (pictured) revealed how she uncovered fraudsters operating in the West Country when she became suspicious about two callers who both accepted the first price she offered and refused to give a landline number. “I had been given advice by the fraud squad to look for people who asked for obscure destinations and seemed happy to pay any price, so the alarm bells starting ringing,” she said.
• In a gloomy outlook for the year, official market statistics form GfK Ascent-MI showed holiday bookings for summer 2009 were 12% down on 2008 at the end of February, while All Leisure Group chairman Roger Allard predicted a spate of travel failures.
• Abta hinted it could play a larger role in domestic tourism with a review of its political lobbying following the merger of Abta and the Federation of Tour Operators, while the CAA rejected claims it had changed its criteria for assessing firms renewing Atols after demanding fresh capital from some Atol-holders.
• Aito signed a groundbreaking agreement with independent agents’ alliance Artac with a deal that would see thousands of direct-sell operators sold through the trade for the first time. Aito brochure racks were planned at Artac agencies, along with an Aito directory for customers to take home.
• Meanwhile, chairman Colin Heal also promised Artac would launch a high street brand name to become more professional and better-known by consumers.
• On the letters page, a reader backed another agent’s views about the lack of fam trips for indies. “This is my 18th year in travel, and I have had one educational,” said the writer.
• Kuoni launched its most blatant direct-sell campaign to date under its Travel Collection brand, with ads in the national press expected to infuriate agents. In the same week, Airtours became the first operator to offer mass-market holidays to Australia, announcing a 16,000‑capacity programme.
• The week’s front page reported on the possibility of the agreement on fuel-surcharge commission being put to a referendum of Abta retail members. It appeared next to a story about British Airways’ spring sale, featuring Miss England, who was pictured on a bed to illustrate the airline’s new bed‑and‑breakfast holidays.
• Meanwhile, many Abta agents reported a big increase in inclusive-tour bookings following the association’s emergency advertising campaign and the return to five-day working. But some agents said they thought the campaign was a waste of time.
• On the letters page, the age-old issue of pay continued to irk. Frank Maidment, of Studio One Travel in Hemel Hempstead, blamed operators for the problem, writing: “I would suggest that at the moment we are doing at least double the amount of work we did this time last year for a similar number of bookings. This, in my opinion, is caused by the chaos in operators’ offices.”
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