The burgeoning middle classes in Brazil, Russia, India and China, and their appetite for outbound travel, would eventually affect the purchasing power of UK suppliers, we heard.
What it meant for agents, I surmised, was that tourist boards who’d traditionally seen the UK as a core focus for their training and engagement efforts might shift that focus elsewhere.
That has, to some extent, happened. I’ve interviewed countless tourist boards who’ve talked about moving spend to Latin America or China, or giving their UK office a wider, diluted remit to oversee other markets too.
But while there’s no doubt other markets are growing more quickly than ours today, the economies of Brazil and Russia are currently on their knees and China is staring down the barrel of a potential, world-shaking recession. The UK is a rather safe bet in comparison – and it seems tourist boards are starting to realise that too.
At our TTG Industry Leaders Forum last week a destination marketing expert revealed that his many tourist board clients are investing in the UK like never before, seeing the UK market as stable, mature and lucrative. That can only be good news for travel agents here, who can expect more fam trips, more training and more marketing support from those destinations. Look out for some exciting new partnerships between TTG and destinations next year too.
Another popular theme at the forum was the resurgence of agents, with guests agreeing that those agents who’ve survived are now in excellent shape. It’s in that spirit that we are proud to reveal the 90 stores and companies – from a staggering 950 contenders – that have earned a place in our TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies shortlist for 2017. We hope being part of the scheme might play some small part in making their future even brighter.