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Comment: Relaxation of rules essential for many

Pent-up demand is worth little until it is unleashed, says Travel Weekly editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley.

There is no doubt people are itching to get away after having travel plans put on hold time and again in the past 18 months.

But one of the indisputable realities of pent-up demand is that it has yet to be released. It may be significant, but until it moves from pent-up to actual it is ultimately worth little.

As many in the trade will attest, the increasing volume of bookings being reported, while welcome, is not yet sufficient to sustain their businesses through the winter.

I have spoken to many owners of SMEs about the measures they have had to take to keep their businesses afloat, and those conversations do not become any less heartbreaking for being so common.

As the clock ticks towards the end of furlough and the review of the government’s border policy, we must all hope that these messages are also being heard by those in power. While the case for financial assistance beyond the end of the month is compelling and must continue to be made, all indicators suggest the chances of success on that front are slim.

Therefore, as I said in this column last week, it makes it even more imperative for the current rules to be relaxed sufficiently to offer an opportunity for companies to turn that pent-up demand into actual business.

These topics and more will be discussed at this week’s Future of Travel Conference in London, when we will gain rare insight from some of travel’s biggest names. Look out for the coverage on travelweekly.co.uk and in next week’s issue.

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