I’ve often heard people from outside the travel industry express surprise at how closely the sector works together.
From Clia, where competing cruise line chiefs meet regularly to champion the sector, to the Institute of Travel and Tourism, where senior figures from rival businesses share best practice.
Last week was the perfect example of travel’s unique quality. As the sad news emerged Cuba specialist of nearly 40 years The Holiday Place had collapsed with some 450 holidaymakers abroad and 2,500 bookings, it was heartening to note how the trade, including many rival operators, rushed to support staff and clients.
Captivating Cuba director Matthew O’Sullivan said he was “desperately sorry” and pledged to assist where possible, while Abraham Bravo, managing director of Cuba Travel Network, pointed out: “It’s time for everybody to help each other.”
Exactly why The Holiday Place failed remains unclear; as legal expert Alan Bowen acknowledges, the company’s most recent accounts suggested the business had been doing well.
But these are, of course, testing times, and parallels are being drawn between the firm’s collapse and the continued political uncertainty – now worsened by Theresa May’s resignation.
Reassuringly, in spite of the significant ongoing challenges facing the sector, stories of new agency openings remain a welcome reminder there is still demand for quality travel experts.
This week we highlight south Wales agency Nassa Travel, which is planning to open its second shop next month – 27-year-old owner Jayde Nassa has revealed her aim is to have 15 stores by the time she’s 40.
As the sector braces itself for a “bumpy ride this summer” (see Comments, p22), it’s worth remembering the positives.
Despite these challenges, there are still plenty of customers who are happy to keep calm and carry on holidaying.