Thursday’s general election and the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit look set to ensure volatility in the UK travel market continues into peaks, a TTG survey has shown.
Just over half (54%) of respondents to the poll said they believed that the 12 December vote was harming travel sales, and the view from the high street was similarly mixed.
Steve Cartwright, owner of Cardiff-based Cartwright Travel, said his shop was thriving. “We are full-on,” he added. “Peaks are 12 months a year now, there is no let-up for us at the moment.”
He added 2019 has seen sales increase 220% on 2018, with November up 30% on the same month last year.
By contrast, Frances Peake, joint owner of Peakes Travel Elite in Shrewsbury, said December had been “quiet”.
“People are still booking, though,” said Peake. “We are keeping our fingers crossed for peaks, but we’re not worried.
“I think it all depends on the results of the election,” she added. “If the Conservative government gets a clear majority, people may hold off booking to see what happens with Brexit.”
Lee Hunt, owner of Woodbridge’s Deben Travel, was less optimistic. “It’s been tougher than last year,” said Hunt.
“Not only are we contending with Brexit, we’re contending with a general election and the aftermath of Thomas Cook – it feels like so much has happened at the same time.”
Hunt added that although Deben Travel has performed well throughout 2019 as a whole, he is hoping peaks will make up for a drop in trade during November.
“One of the issues is our older customer demographic,” said Hunt. “They’re typically into politics, they’re readers of The Guardian and The Telegraph and take these things seriously.”
As of Monday morning (9 December), a TTG poll on whether the uncertainty generated by the forthcoming election was narrowly split 52% in favour of there having been effect with 48% less concerned.
Abta, meanwhile, is aiming to support its members and the wider travel sector in the run-up to peaks with the launch of its annual Travel with Confidence campaign.
Starting 16 December, the adverts will urge consumers to look out for the Abta logo and reassure them ahead of the Tories’ 31 January Brexit deadline.