The willingness to put competitive differences aside for the greater good is going to be more crucial now than ever, says Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley

The publication of the government’s ‘safe lists’ last week generated headaches for the trade and frustration for some key destinations, but there can be no disputing that it was a significant step in the right direction.

Funway’s decision this week to cease trading reminds us the recovery of the outbound sector will be slow and far from straightforward, with latest research suggesting only one in nine consumers are considering a getaway this summer.

But as Abta chief Mark Tanzer said on a Travel Weekly webcast, if momentum can slowly build to a point where even 25% of people go on holiday overseas by the end of the year, that could be key to other companies surviving the crisis.

With borders reopening from England and Scotland (albeit with the notable exception of Spain) and hopes that the other devolved nations will soon follow suit, the next challenge will be rebuilding confidence and providing the information and reassurance customers require. This presents a real opportunity for travel agents to demonstrate what we have known all along – that they are far more than order takers or middlemen.

But as other speakers on our webcasts this week have stressed, it will also require a concerted effort from the industry in the UK and around the world to work together to rebuild trust.

Industry bodies from Iata and Clia to Aito, Atas, Discover Ferries and Tipto have long demonstrated that often fiercely competitive travel businesses are capable of putting differences aside for a common goal.

That willingness to collaborate for the greater good is now going to more crucial than ever.

Comment from Travel Weekly, July 9 edition