Welcome to the history of travel. The entire archive of Travel Trade Gazette, going back to March 1953, is now at ttgmedia.com.
Readers joining the new TTG+ membership scheme as a Premium Member+ will have full access to the library, and will be able to download individual editions of TTG – from the first edition in March 1953 all the way up to present day.
Creation of the archive over the past few months has been prompted by popular demand, with regular requests from travel companies, as well as academic institutions, to make use of it – previously kept only in hard copies at TTG Media headquarters.
The founding editor of TTG Ted Kirkham, who passed away last year at the age of 100, described previously how the rise of TTG through the decades mirrored the story of the UK’s outbound travel industry.
“Such was the significance and pace of events – nationally, internationally, on land, sea, in the air and in the political arena too – they were all big stories. We had front-row seats.” he said in his unfinished autobiography.
“Our aim was to be the first and best with the news. International travel and tourism activity, growing at an unprecedented pace, provided us with a non-stop flow of news.”
At a time of such immense challenges, we’re proud to bring forward some of the lessons of the past _ and to remind everyone of the resilience of the travel industry.
Here, we pick out eight classic front covers from TTG’s eight decades.
Become a TTG+ member and find out more for yourself. Visit ttgmedia.com/membership for full access to the TTG archive.
"This Will Be Britain’s Greatest Tourist Year" declared the front page of Travel Trade Gazette, as the general manager of Thomas Cook predicted more than 1.1 million tourists would leave the UK in the year ahead – 10% up on 1953 and more than ever before. The story referenced the “very heavy enquiries reported by agents” and noted that “it is now possible to visit as a tourist almost every country in the world”.
It’s March 1969 and just five days after Concorde’s first test flight. The aircraft was not to enter commercial service for another seven years but it was already proving controversial. “Even now there is still a chance it will receive the political axe before it enters airline service,” reported TTG, with the industry fearing Iata would impose a “supersonic surcharge” on Concorde that would price it out of most people’s reach.
Less than a month after airline Court Line failed, leaving 35,000 passengers stranded abroad and too few funds for the 100,000 booked to fly, movement was under way for a scheme that would guarantee public financial protection if a travel firm collapsed. The Air Travel Reserve Fund was to be introduced, forerunner to the Air Travel Trust Fund, with Atol holders later required to contribute 2% of their turnover to it.
Much of the reporting in the 1980s and 1990s covered internal wrangling at Abta and other industry bodies, and this front page was typical of the era. With president Jack Smith pulling warring factions together to silence “scaremongers”, the spat dominated other stories of the day – including the launch of a new TTG Travel Awards trophy, and a very curious picture story from the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Brighton.
TTG, now a red-top, spoke up for travel agents everywhere with this front page. Not only was the airline slashing commission from 9% to 7% to erode its £500 million annual commission bill to agents, it was launching a new no-frills, direct-sell airline, Go. Never one for an understatement, Abta president Steven Freudmann declared of BA chief Robert Ayling “this could be the final nail in his coffin”.
There was only one story in September 2001, and in many of the weeks that followed. The devastation wreaked in New York had an instant effect on travel, with planes grounded, sales slumping and thousands losing their jobs. “The rules that applied to the travel industry prior to 9/11 have been swept aside,” commented editor Phil Davies. “We must now learn to expect the unexpected.” Sounds familiar.
A little-known Icelandic volcano named Eyjafjallajokull became the most famous landmark in the world as it prompted the largest air- traffic shutdown since the Second World War. Causing millions of passengers to be stranded not only in Europe but across the world, the initial shutdown over Europe from 5-23 April was followed by further airspace closures until the end of May. Iata put the total loss to the travel industry at £1.1 billion.
Travel agents were forced to work at home as global pandemic Covid-19 took hold, devastating the travel industry worldwide in a way that dwarfed anything else that occurred in TTG’s 67-year history. Travel sales collapsed, resulting in TTG’s #SaveTravel campaign. What happens next is hard to predict, but one thing for certain is that TTG will continue to report it, daily on ttgmedia.com and via the new monthly TTG in print.