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Comment: Nothing beats personal connections

You simply can’t replace face‑to-face contact to develop relationships, says Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley

After 18 months of conversing primarily via a laptop screen, I can’t wait to reunite with industry friends and colleagues in person at two flagship Travel Weekly events next week.

Though very different occasions, our Future of Travel Conference in partnership with Google and the fantastic Agent Achievement Awards will both play a crucial role in bringing the industry together and assisting the rebuilding process. While videoconferencing is undoubtedly going to play an increasing role in all our lives, you simply can’t replace face‑to-face meetings and conversations to really develop relationships.

This need to connect with other people is abundantly clear within the trade, judging by the messages I’ve received from people attending both Future of Travel and the AAAs.

And it will also underpin the recovery of an industry which relies on customers’ desire to get away, experience different cultures and mix with fellow travellers and locals alike.

Indicators from agents and consumer analysts suggest confidence is returning, so it is essential for the industry that stringent travel restrictions are eased sufficiently for it to secure crucial late sales and forward bookings. Many MPs already back calls for the testing and quarantine system to be overhauled and simplified to reflect restrictions in other countries, the rollout of vaccines and the data that suggests returning travellers are not posing a significant threat to NHS resources.

As the end of furlough approaches and the shackles remain on many travel companies, those arguments become more compelling by the day.

Comment originally from Travel Weekly, September 9 edition

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