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 understood 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.
• Owners 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.
• 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 salaries. 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.
• American 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.
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