Comment: Commitment to trade education reflects positivity

The health of the sector is highlighted by the growing investment suppliers are making in educating their agent partners, says Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley

There was more proof of the resurgence in demand for travel this week, as Tui issued an upbeat quarterly update and noted a strong performance in the UK so far this year.

While anecdotal evidence suggests sales have unsurprisingly slowed slightly since the January peak, there also remains a wider sense that the positive start to 2024 can be maintained.

If enquiries and sales are the ultimate bellwethers for the year ahead, the health of the travel trade is also reflected in the ever-growing investment suppliers are making in educating their trade partners.

This week we report on Carnival UK’s six brands committing to getting record numbers of agents on board their ships and that pledge is one that has been echoed by many rival cruise lines over the past weeks and months. Tour operators and airlines are also increasing their investment, with trips to every corner of the globe – including Virgin Atlantic’s amazing fam to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island this autumn.

Just as consumers were reminded how much they missed travel during the pandemic lockdowns, travel agents also said how much they noticed the absence of educational trips, which remain the best way to fully understand a product. With reduced agency and supplier teams stretched to the max in the subsequent period, it has taken time for both the financial and human resources to be in place to fully restart these essential programmes. But with the industry looking to capitalise on continued demand, it is great to see them back and better than ever.

Comment originally from Travel Weekly, February 15 edition

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