Another peak selling period for travel agents, another Holiday Which? report slamming the travel industry.

The fact that the report misses the point when it comes to how the industry works is galling, and nothing new – the fact it has so much weight in the wider media at the industry’s peak selling period is infuriating.

The major criticisms from Holiday Which? are that the prices published in brochures do not include all potential additional charges and that online prices are cheaper than brochure prices.

As ABTA rightly points out, most of the additional charges cited in the report are optional and should not be included in the headline brochure price. As for brochure prices versus online prices, brochures simply cannot show the lowest prices – they are printed months in advance of when the holidays are sold.

Holiday Which? needs to bring itself into the 21st century. Its reports receive widespread media attention and only serve to give consumers a negative image of the travel industry.

The report is also one-dimensional. The industry is made up of more than just the big four tour operators, and the web is changing the way the industry does business.

So Holiday Which? should stop bashing the industry over prices and start telling consumers something they don’t know. Travel Weekly looks forward to the next Holiday Which? report looking at how consumers can save money buying dynamically packaged holidays put together by independent travel agents.

In the meantime, with 2007 being billed as a big year for the growth of cruise business, it gives me great pleasure to announce the first of many initiatives that will see Travel Weekly supporting the cruise industry and agents selling cruise.

This week, we are launching Travel Weekly Cruise Club. Over the next year we will be following the fortunes of our five Cruise Club members who are looking to achieve significant growth in their cruise sales.

We are delighted the initiative has been so well received by the industry and look forward to seeing how the members progress.