DOUBTS have been expressed about the latest industry assessment from Plimsoll Publishing that found huge contrasts in agency performance.

The study of 1,500 travel agencies reported more than half are struggling to break even, while the rest are delivering outstanding returns, with average margins of 49%.

A quarter of all travel agencies reported a loss for the year, with 27% of those now in their second loss-making year. Struggling agencies’ profit margins are down to -0.1%, from 0.1% last year.

However, Advantage managing director John McEwan dismissed the claim the majority of agencies are not making a profit.

“Margins are tight, at an average of 1.35%,” he said. “Some agencies are struggling but there are a lot of steadily performing agencies.”

Worldchoice chairman Colin Heal said: “There is no way almost half of agencies are performing outstandingly.”