TWgroup editor Lucy HuxleySometimes it takes just one influential player in a market to adopt a radical new direction to prompt a paradigm shift for the whole sector.

This can happen when an event or discovery causes something to be seen in a totally different light. And, once change has taken place, there can be no going back.

Is this what we are witnessing in travel, spearheaded by a cruise industry stung by heavy losses following the recent failure of Gill’s Cruise Centre? Maybe.

Travel agents’ liking for financing their businesses on the cash that flows through them, rather than the actual money they make, is not a new phenomenon.

Before the recent period of low interest rates, having this deluge of cash flowing through your business was a handy additional revenue stream with which to accrue interest.

However, the industry has paid a heavy price, finding the cost of providing protection for this cash too onerous.

So the simplest answer is to not allow agents to have the cash in the first place: let them sell the holiday, but ensure the money goes direct from the customer to supplier.

It’s how things work in the US. And it’s a system that Carnival UK is now pursuing here.

Other lines are known to be just as keen to follow suit and I’m sure non-cruise operators are looking on with interest.

Agents won’t like it, but the argument that they need the cashflow to run their businesses is unlikely to prompt widespread sympathy. However it might, when some are inevitably forced out of business.