The sharing economy in the travel sector can operate alongside the traditional package market, says Tui UK managing director Nick Longman.

The sharing economy is epitomised in travel by companies such as Airbnb.

Speaking at World Travel Market’s session on UK markets and what to expect in 2018, Longman said: “I think the sharing economy and traditional tour operating businesses can live side by side. If you look at the really core holiday, people don’t want to take a chance in the sharing economy; it might not work out as planned.

“If you are on your family holiday, you want some assurance.”

Shearings Leisure Group chief executive Richard Calvert said agreed the “market was there for both” but said there remained the issue of regulation, which covers the travel industry but not the sharing economy sector in travel.

“A lot of tour operators are heavily regulated with regards to health and safety and customer protection, while some of the sharing economy companies have no regulation. It’s something the industry and the government need to address.”

Travel Weekly coverage of World Travel Market