AGENTS are optimistic about the second quarter of 2006 with 70% expecting bookings to rise by at least 5%.

A poll of 175 agents by Amadeus revealed 44% of leisure agents expecting increased activity thought sales will rise by 10%, some 23% believe the increase will be 20%, and 29% predicted a 5% rise.

Only 9% of leisure agents and 5% of business agents expect a downturn compared to the first three months of 2006 and a fifth of those polled said booking levels will stay the same. Three-quarters of business agents expect an increase in bookings with almost a quarter predicting a 20% hike.

Amadeus director of marketing Elaine Seeto said: “Despite increased household bills and the burden of airline fuel surcharges affecting UK travellers, most agents surveyed are confident bookings will increase.”