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Stoakes also predicted a strong market for trade acquisitions, particularly for the tier of operators below the likes of Tui and Thomas Cook in terms of size.


“Tui and Thomas Cook have not done a lot of M&A in the last five years,” he said.


“It’s the next layer of companies such as On the Beach that have been making acquisitions and that will continue.


“I can’t see Cook buying anything. Tui has been going down a one-brand strategy but they might make a B2B acquisition.”


As for travel companies potentially listing on the stock exchange, known as an IPO (initial public offering), Stoakes identified a couple of companies to watch.


“Loveholidays was acquired by private equity this year but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an IPO in the next three to five years if they keep growing at the same rate,” he said.


Stoakes added an IPO could also be an option for Audley Travel – which former Tui UK managing director Nick Longman has recently joined – in the next couple of years.


But Brexit could still cast a considerable shadow over this rosy outlook for the M&A market.


“I think a no-deal Brexit would give the industry big problems,” said Stoakes.


“The uncertainty doesn’t help, as consumers are less inclined to book a holiday in 12 months if the country is in chaos, and it doesn’t help exchange rates either.”

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