Newmarket Holidays has praised the role of travel agents in its recent sales surge, as its four business development managers prepare to return to agency visits.
The four-strong team has been working from home under the government’s Plan B guidance but from next week, the BDMs will be back on the road to promote the operator’s holidays as the Covid measures will be eased.
Richard Forde, head of trade sales, said the travel trade is “driving a broad mix of touring sales” as the European market shows “signs of recovery”.
Newmarket said Croatia, Italy and Portugal accounted for 50% of sales to Europe in recent weeks.
Before that, bookings had been stronger for long-haul tours.
Forde said: “We’re really pleased to see demand coming back for European destinations such as Italy, which has contributed to 25% of bookings in the last week.
“With our regional charter programme on sale to destinations such as Lake Garda, we anticipate this will continue.
“Italy was a firm customer favourite pre-pandemic and with the recent relaxation of travel testing, customer confidence for travel in 2022 is definitely improving.”
He thanked travel agents for helping to deliver these sales and also for communicating safety messages to customers.
“Travel agents are not only advising and assisting customers with securing a holiday but play a vital role in helping customers navigate the changes in testing requirements for the UK and their chosen destination,” he commented.
“That’s one of the many ways we see real added value in working with our travel agent partners in a post-pandemic world.
“To continue to support our agent partners, I’m delighted to say that our four-strong team of BDMs will be back on the road next week…they’re itching to get their cars off their drives.”
Newmarket’s praise for the trade follows news that over-50s specialist Saga plans to work with “a smaller” number of travel agents.
Agents have widely criticised Saga’s “disappointing” decision to trim its trade partnerships, with effect from February 19.