The travel sector will see some shrinkage next year but not as much as the press has warned, Travel Trust Association managing director Simon Hargreaves has predicted.

He said there had been one to five percent shrinkage in 2008 and there would be a similar fall in 2009.

“Long haul has been hammered and seen double digit decline, although North America escaped that until recently,” he said. “If you’ve managed to stay level this year you’ve done very well.”

However, the average value of bookings will increase because the big operators will cut their capacity, he added.

“It won’t be the sort of year that has been painted in the press. I’m confident travel won’t fall off a cliff.”

The failure of XL has made more people aware of the risk of booking without financial protection. “There was a flurry of interest and that’s good for us. Whether this lasts in the long term remains to be seen.”

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