EasyJet holidays has reiterated its support for travel agents after transport secretary Grant Shapps’ inference that they were a thing of the past during a government press conference on Friday.
The operator did not reference Shapps by name, but said it was “getting behind its travel agent partners to demonstrate solidarity and support” following comments “made last week amongst the traffic light announcements”.
Shapps was blasted by members of the trade after referring to travel companies as “what people would have called travel agents in the past”.
Garry Wilson, easyJet holidays chief executive (pictured at the operator’s trade launch), said: “We absolutely believe in independent travel agents and ever since we launched our brand-new business it was always really important to us to work together.
“We think now more than ever, given how uncertain some people are feeling and how confused some are about the steps and requirements you need to follow to travel, that trusted travel agents will be who people turn to, to book their holidays.
“Throughout this year we’ve been launching initiatives to support our trade partners, help share materials to boost consumer confidence, we’ve implemented flexible booking options and celebrated the high street stores re-opening as lockdown restrictions have eased. And we stand side by side with our partners once more. Thank you for all you do.”
Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, said: “We were one of easyJet holidays’ first partners since their trade launch and we’ve been working closely together since then. It’s great to see the commitment from easyJet holidays to the independent travel trade and the high street.
“It’s also given our customers even more choice and our shops all over the UK have been at their busiest over the last week or so. What’s clear is that people are trusting a reputable travel agent to look after them, some for the first time.”