“It’s a very strange market – I don’t think we can predict any more [what’s going to happen].” That was the conclusion of one travel agent in response to a TTG poll on whether the uncertainty of the 12 December election has impacted their business.
His response sums up the mixed opinion. Cardiff-based Steve Cartwright, of Cartwright Travel, says his agency is “breaking all records”, while Lee Hunt of Deben Travel in Suffolk claims “it’s been tougher than last year”, explaining: “Not only are we contending with Brexit, there’s a general election and we’re still getting on with the aftermath of Thomas Cook.”
Regardless of which opinion is more accurate, Thursday’s election outcome will surely spell further uncertainty.
If Boris Johnson wins a majority, the Conservatives will go all out for Brexit on 31 January (although questions abound on how realistic this is).
If the Tories don’t win, it’s anyone’s guess – a hung parliament? A coalition?
The silver lining is the UK’s Westminster shenanigans have been going on so long, political uncertainty has become the norm. And while agents’ booking patterns might be mixed, the ongoing uncertainty doesn’t seem to be stalling overall growth in the sector.
This was evidenced last week as Barrhead announced plans to commence its expansion drive in January with the opening of five new stores, while Abercrombie & Kent confirmed its acquisition of Cox & Kings.
We might not be able to predict consumer – or political – behaviour in the immediate future.
But as we brace for a bumpy peaks, it’s heartening to see major players still feel certain about travel’s long-term potential, at least.
Stay tuned to ttgmedia.com this week for coverage of the election result – and what it will mean for travel.