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.
July 24, 2009
• Abta planned crunch talks with bed banks to determine who should be liable following an agency failure. This followed an open letter from On Holiday Group’s Steve Endacott, criticising the association for directing consumers to bed banks to recoup money. Recent failures of Freedom Direct and Harvey World Travel highlighted confusion on liability.
• Agents and operators were forced to find new sales channels following news Teletext Holidays could switch off its analogue service two years earlier than planned, in January 2010.
• Abta chairman John McEwan warned agents to alert customers to insurance cover in light of fears the swine flu pandemic could result in a 60% drop in international travel. The news came as BA and Virgin Atlantic began screening passengers for the virus.
• Travel Weekly revealed Owners Abroad was set to ditch its Sunmed and Martyn Holidays brands in a shake-up of its multi-brand policy.
• Thomas Cook said it would extend a trial of its mobile travel kiosk, which allowed customers to research holidays and make bookings at its London Marble Arch branch, while Cresta Holidays announced it was to launch its viewdata system next year.
• Aito reported it was heading for a £20,000 loss for the year to October, with members expected to face a surcharge and a 30% increase in subscriptions for 1995.
• Columnist Maureen Hill reported on a steady stream of bare-chested male clients wearing only shorts due to the hot weather. One such “oaf” was contemplating a holiday to Sri Lanka. When told by the shop’s agent that bathrooms would be open plan, he retorted: “I don’t fancy that; people watching while you’re on the throne. Not only that, I can be a bit musical when I’ve had a few pints.”
• On the front page, Travel News reported that Westernjet’s accountants had advised the company to go into liquidation, despite telling the paper just hours earlier that arrangements were being made with creditors so passengers’ bookings would be honoured. As a consequence of the liquidation plan, the outlook for 1,500 passengers with upcoming bookings was described as “gloomy”.
• A related story reported that ways to tighten up loopholes in bonding were discussed at top-level talks between the Department of Trade and Abta. This followed the failure of non-Abta firms Pacesetter and Thornes Travel, and the appointment of a receiver for Westernjet.
• A coup in northern Cyprus took place while 2,000 British tourists were on the island. With all air links cut, some had to delay their return to the UK. The coup prompted operators to offer alternative holidays or refunds on future bookings.
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