In the (many) opinions being shared about the ongoing coronavirus crisis, it’s a single sentence from G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip in his missive to the trade that’s perhaps most helpful: “Remember, we are stronger together.”
Poon Tip’s message is two-fold. He urges agents to encourage clients to keep travelling, but also to be clear on the facts around the virus.
“Ignorance is counterproductive to public health and wellness,” he points out.
Ignorance has been a concerning repercussion of Covid-19, leading to global hysteria, a drop-off in bookings, the cancellation of events – and apparently now the failure of an airline.
The loss of Flybe cannot be underestimated. For regional UK airports such as Southampton, Newquay and Belfast City, its demise could be catastrophic. But who will fill the gap?
Thankfully, some airlines have stepped forward, and the government insists it is “urgently working with industry to identify how key routes can be re-established by other airlines as soon as possible”.
What is most concerning is that it was coronavirus (and its associated repercussions) that bosses say tipped Flybe over the edge.
Anxiety about Covid-19 is clearly being felt across the sector – in a TTG poll last week, 79% of readers said clients were showing a reluctance to book owing to the ongoing situation.
To counter this, TTG has produced video guides and spoken with agents about their most frequently asked questions, with a panel of experts on hand to provide answers to reassure clients.
Central to the experts’ advice is that there is no reason not to book holidays, and as the government’s chief medical officer pointed out last week: “Restricting travel makes no difference at all.”
What does make a difference is the sector uniting in presenting the facts, not the fiction, to regain client confidence.