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Comment: The pandemic’s human impact is still immense

Agents and suppliers must work together to ease rebound pressure, says Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley

The return of Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Spring Forum at Google’s London office last week was a fantastic chance to hear from an array of experts and assess the outlook for the industry.

But it also offered a timely reminder of the human impact of the pandemic on the travel trade and corrected any misapprehension that the road to recovery will be straightforward purely because customer demand has returned.

The cost-of-living crisis clearly presents a major hurdle, with the question being when, not if, it impacts that resurgent demand.

There are also many immediate issues facing agents, who are dealing with an increased administrative burden and more-demanding customers, all while managing relations with suppliers who themselves are often battling to resource increasingly complex and fluid operations.

I wrote recently in this column of the need to work in partnership to overcome these challenges, inspired by an open letter to the trade from Travel Village Group chief Phil Nuttall. And it was Phil who made this point again in a typically candid, and sometimes emotional, appearance at the Future of Travel event.

A year on from the reopening of international travel under the traffic light system, it is clear there is still a long way to go before the industry can truly feel the lights are all green. And as Advantage boss Julia Lo Bue-Said told delegates, it is essential that all businesses in the supply chain have lines of communication open so these issues can be discussed and resolved for the benefit of all.

Comment originally from Travel Weekly, May 19 edition

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