TC agent reports: Food for thought from travel entrepreneurs

Travel Weekly’s ten ‘agent reporters’ will be giving us their perspective on the Travel Convention 2010 throughout the event

The session with two of the industry’s leading entrepreneurs served up much food for thought.

The travel agents and tour operators in attendance could relate to the three-year battle Travel Republic managing director Kane Pirie went through with the CAA before finally winning his court case.

The chaotic state of consumer financial protection had already been on the agenda during the morning, so it was interesting to get Pirie’s viewpoint.

He made it clear that he still felt that the best financial protection for passengers came from credit card issuers.

But he also believed the financial protection offered by his own company was still superior to that offered by the CAA – stating that his Globespan customers were refunded within a month of the airline’s collapse.

Clive Jacobs, founder of Holiday Autos and now chairman of Travel Weekly’s parent company TWgroup, said entrepreneurs and not sports stars were the real winners in the UK, as they provide employment and growth for the country.

After a period away from the travel industry, he said he was encouraged to see so many familiar faces still within the business, and said the biggest single change was that the big traditional brands had now recognised the opportunities offered by the internet.

But he stressed that future changes to the industry are essential for it not to be left behind, citing the continuing delay over a third runway at Heathrow.

Both speakers have made a success of working within the travel industry, and emphasised that there remained many reasons for all of us to be optimistic for the future.

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