The UK travel industry will pull through this difficult period with its usual resilience, Abta chairman John McEwan has insisted.

McEwan told Travel Weekly: “This is a big and resilient market and if people get their businesses right there are opportunities to prosper.

“When you consider the economic period, there is not a sense of contraction. Package holidays this summer are down 2% and revenue up 3% to 4%. We’ve seen a contraction in flight only, but the core holiday market is more resilient.”

The Advantage Travel Centres chief executive added: “Travel is high on people’s list of wants. All the research shows people want to protect their main annual holiday. They are trimming elsewhere.

“The UK is a huge market and the travel market is adept at dealing with crises – we saw the shift back to Spain this year. The size of the market gives it an opportunity to respond. The difficulties have not really affected the propensity to travel.

“If we get to the point of recovery and start to see growth, people will have more income ¬ and if they have the income, people will travel. It is a difficult time, but travel is resilient and companies continue to adapt. The factor that won’t change is that people want to travel.”

McEwan expressed delight at how the association’s Travel Convention in Palma had gone, saying: “We aim to give a sense of direction, a sense of reality about the difficult economic environment and some opportunities to learn.”