Comment: Announcements offer hope for many in the trade

The road ahead is long, but at least there is something to build on, says Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley

There was a palpable sense of relief this week after announcements from either side of the Atlantic offered hope for a return to meaningful trading.

The positivity wasn’t universal by any means, with many long-haul destinations and specialists at a loss to understand the rationale behind the UK government’s decisions, the devolved nations still mulling their approaches and the end of furlough now just days away.

But after months of false starts, missed deadlines and another severely restricted summer season, there are at least grounds for many agents and operators to start building a strategy for recovery.

Over the past week, I have had the chance to see industry colleagues in person for the first time in 18 months – first at our Future of Travel Conference, and 24 hours later as we honoured the efforts of the trade during the pandemic at the Agent Achievement Awards.

Nobody at either event was under any illusions that the road ahead would be smooth, and that impression will not have been transformed overnight by the announcements made since.

But I was still reminded of the passion and professionalism that will underpin the industry’s recovery if companies large and small are allowed to do what they do best, without the shackles of excessive restrictions and regulation.

It is now imperative that the reopening becomes a truly four nations approach. And as Miles Morgan writes in his Travel Weekly column this week, the trade must also be given the confidence that this journey will not be undermined by damaging U-turns.

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