We take a look through the Travel Weekly archives in our 50th year to find out what was making the headlines 10, 25 and 45 years ago


• Travel Weekly unveiled a new-look magazine, featuring what travel writer Simon Calder wanted from an agent: someone who 25apr-09understood his needs, but was honest about their product knowledge, went beyond Google, could reassure him in case of supplier failure, and smiled.

• In the new Week At A Glance section, nominations opened for a new Abta president following Justin Fleming’s decision to step down after three years while Thomas Cook announced 59 job cuts of temporary roles at its call centre near Falkirk.

• Travel Weekly launched the Travelhub, an online trade discussion forum featuring photo galleries and blog posts.
Miles Morgan Travel reported enquiries from nearly 50 countries since its cruise went on sale to mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking; All Leisure Group acquired Hebridean Island Cruises; and operators restarted tours to Lebanon following a change in Foreign Office advice after a three-year travel ban.


1994-owners-abroadOwners Abroad faced losing market share after being the only major operator in the winter sun market not to bring out its latest programme as Travel Weekly went to press.

• Rivals Thomson, Airtours and Cosmos brought out their winter 1994-95 brochures early, all featuring  5% to 6% reductions. New product included the first UK charters to Las Vegas out of Manchester with Airtours.

• Brochure launches were accompanied by aggressive winter discount campaigns from the multiples, offering up to 10% off holidays. Thomas Cook and AT Mays also offered £1 deposits to encourage early bookings.

Thomas Cook was set to revolutionise agency business by launching a video booking service at its Marble Arch branch on May 9. To book, customers could use a ‘video phone link’ to Thomas Cook’s head office and insert a credit card into a small facility resembling a ‘cashpoint machine’ – without consulting the agent. If successful, Thomas Cook planned to roll it out to all 402 branches.


1974-horizon-2• Abta’s last-ditch attempts to arrange alternative holidays for customers booked with failed Horizon Holidays (Ireland) were unsuccessful. Clients were told they would instead have their balances refunded.

• On the Opinion page, agents continued to complain of poor pay. One ‘grossly underpaid’ agent from Nottinghamshire suggested Abta introduce a pay scale of graded 1974-paysalaries. The agent said they earned £21.70 a week, plus a bonus of around £2.75.

• In cruise news, Norwegian America Line revealed a return to the UK market in September after a five-year break, and it was reported P&O’s ageing cruise ship Himalaya was likely to be laid up after its ex-Australia programme in the autumn.

1974-avis-amexAmerican Express dropped plans for a £63 million takeover of Avis. It had hoped to take a 52% stake in the car rental firm held by International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation.