We take a look through the Travel Weekly archives in our 50th year to find out what was making the making the headlines 10, 25 and 45 years ago…
• John McEwan and Daniele Broccoli set out their visions for Abta as they went head to head to be its next chairman. Broccoli unveiled an ambitious plan to the be the ‘everyman’ of Abta, while McEwan presented a manifesto focused on consumer protection and government lobbying. It was a contest that came to be viewed as the battle of the small independent retailer versus the industry boss. In June 2009, McEwan was appointed.
• Thomas Cook boss Manny Fontenla-Novoa warned of price hikes in 2010 of 4.5% and said bookings through shops remained the most profitable, with the retail estate only likely to shrink by about 100 branches over the next five years. Meanwhile, Tui Travel said it had no plans for shop closures in the forthcoming months, describing both the internet and shops as “important channels” for the business.
• Movers & Shakers this week included Andy Harmer, director of the Association of Cruise Experts, who announced his departure to join The Cruise Portfolio, the general sales arm of Mundy Cruising, as sales and marketing director, while Diane Court, previously of Virgin Holidays and Gold Medal, was appointed sales and recruitment manager for the Midlands and south for the Freedom Travel Group.
• Also on this week’s front page, the UK chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association announced it would be holding an emergency meeting to discuss its financial crisis, while Airtours’ shareholders showed their confidence by buying shares to fund the company’s £90 million acquisition of SAS Leisure and a cruise ship.
• Unijet Group chairman Chris Parker denied rumours of a sale this week. With Airtours apparently on the search for another company to buy, Unijet, one of the largest privately-owned UK operators, was rumoured to be on its hit list. But Parker denied the speculation, insisting: “We are not for sale.”
• On the Focus Asia-Pacific page, it was reported that tourism to Sri Lanka was showing signs of a comeback for the first time since political disturbances rocked the island in the early 1980s.
• On the Opinion page, a letter from R A Wagstaff of Fulham called on operators to encourage lonely people to take holidays by providing specialised tours. “I feel that any travel firm that organised tours for these people would do well,” read the letter.
• The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association was looking to play an even stronger role in trade affairs in Scotland following proposals for members to have an “arm’s length” agreement with Abta.
• Fears were raised of a Horizon-style failure in the cruise sector. At a meeting of major UK shipping companies, attended by P&O, Shaw Savill, Cunard and Union-Castle, it was revealed companies had pursued passenger growth over profits. Consolidation of programmes to cut costs was mooted as a distinct possibility.
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