I’m writing this week’s column shortly after returning from the Advantage Conference on board MSC Cruises’ Fantasia, where the mood seemed pretty upbeat among suppliers and members alike.
Thomas Cook pledged its support for independent agents and confirmed it had just signed a two-year deal with Advantage, while the consortium announced a major investment in a new Advantage Holidays brand, allowing members to “take more control of their own destiny”.
Individual agents were also positive. Nick Marks of Baldwins Travel told me about a new branch acquisition, Helen and Philippa from Polka Dot Travel told me about the recent opening of their fourth shop, and Gary Shaw of established corporate agency CSR Travel talked me through his expansion into high-end leisure sales.
The positivity of these few days made it even more galling to return to the UK and read the national headlines about the potential for Isis attacks in mainstream European resorts this summer.
Of course, any warning should be taken seriously and no threat can be ruled out, but the awful truth is that a terrorist could as easily pose as a busker in a busy city park as an ice-cream seller on a packed Mediterranean beach. Risk is a part of our everyday lives.
The threat of terrorism is sadly not going away, and the fact is that almost all countries must now maintain a heightened security level.
It is incumbent on us all to be alert to the dangers, but if these reports foster an increased sense of fear and insularity and dampen our positivity and enthusiasm, then the terrorists will already have struck a blow.
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