Travel agents are a strong source of new business, argues Page &  Moy head of agency sales Colin Wilson.

The escorted tour operator, which has been selling through the trade for the last year, said independent and homeworkers are an important focus for the business.

He argued that tour operators need a multi-channel approach but claims agents are its priority.

He said: “If the travel agent can bring us new customers the commission is an acquisition cost.

“I am only dealing with the independent sector as a lot of them are very innovative and they try to differentiate themselves.”

“The whole idea is the trade brings in new customers.  The company does not take customer details or market to them directly if they have booked with an agent.”

Speaking about the current credit crunch, he said: “I believe holidays are the last things people give up. They might trade down.”

He added: “Montenegro is flying. It’s about the eurozone and people are getting a better rate for their money”.

He also argued operators such as Page & Moy whose main clients include the 55-68 age range are more likely to weather the storm of the current financial situation.

These customers are generally retired and are spending their savings on holidays and will not see a direct impact from the credit crunch.

The operator is launching its new Christmas break brochure to agents in the next few weeks.