What a time to take over the helm of a travel trade body.
As the Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation celebrates its 10th anniversary, there may be many in the industry who feel there is little to celebrate.
But let’s all draw breath and pause for a moment. As my predecessor chairman of TIPTO said recently, there are still reasons to be positive about our industry and, while there may be a few sad casualties, the strong, innovative, determined and entrepreneurial will carry on regardless.
Travel remains, in relative terms, cheaper than it was decades ago. British consumers are notably resilient in continuing to travel in the face of an economic downturn.
All my TIPTO colleagues will be doing their hardest to work with independent travel agents to help us all weather this storm.
One of the remarkable features of TIPTO has been the way in which a range of companies, all competing for the same discretionary spend of consumers, have been able to put aside any commercial difference and pool their financial and physical resources to work together.
Is there a lesson to be learnt here in the wider travel context? Could there be a pooling of ideas and funds to help maintain consumer demand for travel? For example, maybe a handful of independent agencies could get together to jointly run local advertising or promotional campaigns.
Each of their names could appear as a call to action, but by pooling resources they could together make a bigger impact in the local press or on regional radio than one agency acting alone.
Tough times call for decisive action and that might mean swallowing competitive pride and collaborating.
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