Niche operators are looking forward to a good 2007 but say fears of interest rate rises and an end to the housing boom have hit consumer confidence.

Speaking at a Travel Weekly round-table discussion on how agents can grab a bigger slice of the niche market, Cadogan Holidays managing director Tom Allen said consumers may start cutting back on their short breaks.

Orient Lines UK general manager Francis Riley added: “There is a lot of enquiring but people are not ready to commit.”

Wildlife Worldwide managing director Chris Breen said: “People still want to go on holiday – it’s one of the few things they won’t give up.”

The round-table group heard how agents can increase their earnings by working closely with niche operators.