Hays Travel owner John Hays has admitted that optimism over record growth for the company has been tempered by uncertainty following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Egypt.
Speaking at the Hays Travel Independence Group conference in Portugal this weekend, Hays said that a broadly positive economic environment and customers having access to more disposable income had benefited the company.
But he admitted he “doesn’t know what the future holds” after the recent atrocities.
Pointing to up to 12 new shops which are scheduled to open before the end of the year, Hays said: “It’s been an excellent year. We have had double digit growth building on previous years’ success.
“We have grown sales and increased margins. There’s a really positive picture for the majority of you in this room.”
However, he warned: “There’s a big ‘but’ at the moment and that’s terrorism. It’s causing disruption and it’s out of our control. I can’t see anything but more disruption. How much is the fear of travel going to impact on our industry?”
Hays said Hays Travel had 340 customers in Sharm el-Sheikh when a Russian jet exploded last month and a handful in Paris at the time of the terrorist attacks on November 13.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” he said. “Recent events have made me not so sure. How scared will UK holiday maker be, especially in the key January period? It’s a serious concern for all of us.”
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