Comment: Confidence continues to be undermined

Businesses need those in power to stop trampling green shoots as soon as they appear, writes Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley

The growing sense of hope for the summer season was set back this week as government ministers and scientific advisors used the national media to temper enthusiasm and legislative procedures produced more unwanted headlines.

As business leaders feeding into the Global Travel Taskforce have made clear, the industry is not gung-ho in its desire to restart, and public health and the ability to cope with variants and further waves are correct priorities.

But the apparent willingness of those in power to undermine consumer confidence in the sector each time it starts to build is a repeated body blow for every travel, tourism and hospitality company attempting to survive and plot a responsible course out of the crisis.

Officials and ministers insisted that the imposition of heavy fines to curb international travel until the end of June did not pre-empt the findings of the taskforce and May 17 remained on the table as the earliest resumption date.

But as the trade reported this week, the cumulative headlines served to put the brakes on business as even those customers who had started to explore options for travel later in the summer responded to the negative tone of the coverage.

Speakers on recent Travel Weekly webcasts have consistently said their plans are not contingent on a May 17 restart and they are not hung up on that date, with the key goal being a meaningful resumption by summer.

They will now be hoping those green shoots of returning confidence are not trampled further in the fortnight before the taskforce issues its crucial report.

Comment from Travel Weekly March 25 edition, read online here

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