Operators say working with agents ‘more important than ever’

Travel agents are more important than ever before, as they can help reassure customers about holidaymaking amid the pandemic.

Three members of the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (Atas) hailed the role of agencies during a Travel Weekly webcast with Lucy Huxley, editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly.

Intrepid Travel’s EMEA managing director Zina Bencheikh said: “We call it a safety tool kit. You book with your travel agent, with a tour operator on a group tour, and you’ll be safe, you’ll be in good hands.

“You will have a great experience and if something goes wrong, you will still be in good hands.

“The importance of travel agent has never been great as it is right now.”

In July, Intrepid Travel created the first National Travel Agents’ Day in the UK to recognise the efforts made by travel agents during the Covid-19 crisis.

Phil Hullah, Riviera Travel chief executive, said his company has expanded its team of on-the-road reps meeting travel agents during the pandemic.

“It has been more important than ever to work very closely with them,” he said.

“We take the responsibility to deliver a fantastic holiday and look after them. That’s something we take very seriously.

“The role is potentially more important than it has been in recent years.

“Working well with those partners is a very high priority for us.”

Niel Alobaidi, Newmarket’s chief executive, also highlighted the crucial role of agents in building customers’ confidence in travel.

“We wouldn’t exist without that relationship,” he said.

Newmarket has recently launched an agency incentive offering love2shop vouchers to further encourage trade sales.

More: Operators feel ‘responsibility to the sector’ as tours restart

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