In a multimedia age of 24/7 connectivity it is common to hear people bemoan how quickly time appears to pass.

But even so, as we publish our final issue of January it feels that the first month of the year has flown by.

Many in the industry have reported being rushed off their feet, which is of course a positive sign. But they also tell of a fiercely competitive market where pricing is under intense scrutiny.

Throw in the shifting sands of global events and an understandable sense of caution from consumers when choosing their holiday destination, and you have a marketplace that offers opportunities but requires some serious strategic thinking to negotiate.

In the context of outbound travel, the performance of the market to The Gambia would not usually be particularly notable. But with the West African country becoming the latest beach destination to hit the headlines, the situation there – and hopefully the swift resumption of services – takes on a greater significance for the travel trade as it attempts to reassure, advise and ultimately secure bookings during this key selling period.

Given the challenges, it is no surprise that the issue of discounting is once again on the agenda.

But with the peaks likely to be over in the blink of an eye, many will be hoping for a period of relative stability so that those tempted to cut prices further will hold their nerve and ensure the first quarter of the year isn’t characterised by volume over yield.