There were some very frank opinions expressed at last week’s Cim Travel Group Question Time at which I had the pleasure of filling the David Dimbleby role.
Although I was asking the questions, I can’t claim credit for what turned out to be a fascinating discussion between four travel executives who were happy to speak bluntly.
As a result, we were treated to a great insight into the state of the UK outbound market and the challenges facing the trade despite a generally favourable economy.
Many of the themes – such as problems in the eastern Mediterranean pushing demand west and the implication for the lates market – have been reported in Travel Weekly.
But other questions about the market were raised by the experienced industry watchers, including some with inside knowledge of how the big two operate.
- Is what was described as a “wall of spam” emails of discounted holiday offers a sign of early panic as leading operators try to flog mainly Turkey holidays in a terrorism affected market?
- Will the market to Turkey eventually come back?
- Is discounting symptomatic of travel firms’ habit of talking up doom?
- And is Spain already on the verge of putting up the ‘No vacancies’ sign, or at least pricing itself out of the market?
Overall, we were left with a sense that the industry has faced many similar challenges in the past.
Clearly, having Tunisia and Egypt’s Red Sea effectively off sale while Turkey is suffering so badly is unprecedented.
But the overall message appears to be ‘Keep calm and carry on’.
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