Thirty years ago this week, British software engineer Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal for a concept later known as the World Wide Web. “Vague but exciting,” was his boss’s response.
Given its influence on almost all facets of modern life, it’s difficult to now imagine a world without Berners-Lee’s invention; nearly every industry has been impacted – and changed – by the web. Travel, perhaps, more than most.
Remember those early prophecies of the noughties that high street travel agents would be gone within a decade as a result of the dot com travel boom? Yet nine years after this deadline, agents are not only surviving, they’re thriving.
As the TTG team’s recent Top 50 tours of the best agents in the UK and Ireland shows, there are countless success stories of travel agencies who got it right.
Adapting to change, though, is old hat for a sector constantly braced for challenges, from natural disasters to terror attacks. The tragic Ethiopian Airlines disaster last weekend is evidence of that. When the CAA announced on Tuesday (March 12) its decision to suspend all Boeing 737 MAX operations in the UK, two carriers flying these aircraft – Norwegian and Tui – responded immediately, with Tui even implying no customers would be impacted.
Meanwhile, Brexit continues to cast its shadow over the sector. As TTG went to press, MPs were gearing up for the most important vote in the process so far. But whatever the outcome, the government has at least now confirmed flights will continue in the event of no deal – a scenario that now seems increasingly possible.
Brexit is vague and more terrifying than exciting. But of all the sectors, travel will at least be ready – and able – to adapt.
Here’s hoping it won’t need to.