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Comment: Demand for future seasons offers hope

As an industry source said this week, travel agents could be forgiven for thinking they are playing a metaphorical game of the fairground game Whack a Mole at the moment, with a fresh challenge arising each time one is dealt with.

Ongoing issues at airports continue to cause problems, and while we must keep reminding customers that most holidays are going ahead smoothly, it would be a mistake to pretend everything is rosy when disruption is still impacting both immediate travel and consumer confidence.

I was given a personal insight last weekend when a senior industry executive kept me abreast of his attempts to get away with his family – including being asked to leave his plane on the tarmac and return home before eventually flying 26 hours late for his seven-night holiday.

And it is clear from Travel Weekly’s social channels and agent groups that this sort of experience is sadly still far from being unique.

Yet despite the understandable concern about the summer getaway and various other ‘moles’ confronting the trade, there are still reasons for optimism looking further into the future.

As we report in this week’s edition of Travel Weekly, agents say a softening summer market is being partially offset by strong demand for future seasons, which will surprise many who assumed resurgent demand driven by ring-fenced budgets and a determination to catch up on missed holidays would wane as rising living costs started to bite.

An industry which has become used to responding to setbacks will know better than to count its chickens, but there is certainly hope momentum can be maintained beyond the initial post-pandemic rebound.

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