lntrepid Travel is launching the UK’s first National Travel Agent Day on Friday, July 24, and has invited all travel suppliers to “join in celebrating the valuable role agents play in supporting the UK travel industry and holidaymakers”.

The celebration of agents across the UK is set to take place annually on the last Friday of the UK summer school term, just before the summer holiday mass exodus typically begins, according to Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid EMEA managing director.

“A National Travel Agent Day already exists in other countries, like the US, Canada and Australia, so we were really surprised when we learned there was nothing like it in the UK,” she said.

“We want to show our appreciation for what agents do – and this year, more than ever, travel agents have been through a really tough time, and worked so hard. We wanted to create something to officially recognise their hard efforts as frontline workers, dealing with the crisis first-hand, and their important role in keeping the travel industry afloat.”

Bencheikh added: “With all that’s happened with this pandemic, customers will want to book with agents more than ever, so agents are going to become even more important.”

Intrepid is asking those supporting National Travel Agent Day UK to share the #NTADUK hashtag on their social media channels on July 24. Travel companies are also encouraged to “get creative in how they choose to thank agents for their hard work assisting clients around the clock, seven days-a-week and across international time zones”, Bencheikh said.

This year, as part of the launch while social distancing measures remain in place, Intrepid will host an industry-wide Virtual Appreciation Event on July 24, connecting agents and partners online to mark the occasion. A morning session will feature a range of “special guests”, while the afternoon will be more of a celebration, with competitions, prizes and giveaways. Full details will be announced closer to the day on the National Travel Agent Day UK web page.

In future years, the industry will be encouraged to recognise agents, not just on July 24, but throughout the month of July with fam trips and special rates for travel, Bencheikh said.

She continued: “With Covid-19 hitting the industry hard in recent months and government guidelines rapidly changing, we understand the difficulties many agents have experienced, such as dealing with frustrated and confused customers.

“National Travel Agent Day UK is a chance for all those connected to our industry, including travel organisations, airlines, operators, travel journalists and customers themselves, to take a moment to thank agents for their patience and resilience in this most challenging of times.

“Even when Covid-19 is behind us, we believe National Travel Agent Day UK warrants a permanent place in our national calendar to serve as a reminder of the crucial role agents play in travel, both during a crisis and getting businesses back on their feet, and as a way of giving travel agencies the recognition that is so often overlooked.”

For more information about National Travel Agent Day UK and to sign up to take part in the Virtual Appreciation Event, click here.