Abta study finds ‘ongoing’ public confidence in agents and packages

New research has confirmed the ongoing trend during the pandemic for people to seek the “security and reassurance of booking a package holiday with a travel professional”.

Conducted at the start of July for Abta, the study shows holidaymakers are 25% more likely to book a holiday with a travel professional now than before the pandemic, with half citing the security of a package holiday (50%) as their main reason, followed by trusting travel companies to look after them (48%), and the travel professional’s up-to-date advice (42%).

The findings also show that consumer confidence in and awareness of the Abta brand remains consistent with pre-pandemic levels, with almost three-quarters of respondents associating the brand most strongly with reassuring (74%), experts (74%), confidence (73%) and safe (73%).

To encourage bookings with an Abta member, the association is promoting its Book with Confidence tips on social media over the summer and continuing its #ReadySteadyTravel campaign.

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Recent activities include videos encouraging people to book holidays to green and amber list countries; advice on testing for travel; and blogs on travel to green and amber list countries.

Shelly Beresford, head of brand and marketing at Abta, said: “People continue to recognise the huge benefits that come with booking their holidays through an Abta travel professional, with the Abta brand remaining as highly regarded as ever.

“We know there is huge pent-up demand for overseas holidays after so many months of restrictions, but that there is also a lot of information that people to know and understand before they travel, so we’re making sure that the #ReadySteadyTravel campaign keeps holidaymakers informed about the changes that will affect their travel plans

“We’re also supporting members with our guides and updates so they are across all of the latest changes and developments.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association president Joanne Dooey warned that travel agents with decades of experience can’t keep up with the ever-changing rules and regulations in the UK and in different countries around the world.

She said: “The news that countries are introducing forms of Covid pass leaves Scots disadvantaged once again, as we still have no indication of when Scotland will have its own digital app to prove vaccination status. There’s uncertainty about even if there is one in development.

“We’re currently faced with an analogue paper system in a digital world when English visitors have the NHS app which seamlessly dovetails with the EU version.

“What we can be 100% certain about is that travel agents and the entire travel sector in Scotland has been decimated and is in desperate need of support from governments who seem deaf to the situation and blind to the long term damage to our economy if we lose further connectivity with the rest of the world.

“Travel agencies must keep their doors open to act purely as information bureaus at a time when they have had no income to talk about since late 2019 and no prospect of attracting revenue until UK and global leaders agree a strategy for the restart of international travel.”

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