Constant speculation about when travel will resume and which countries will open up first is dangerous and just makes life harder for agents, the Advantage Travel Partnership CEO warns.
Julia Lo Bue-Said told Travel Gossip News that, rather than listening to the latest baseless forecasts, customers need to look at flexible bookings and agents should be reminding clients of the importance of booking with a real person.
She said: “Right now, there’s an absolute and complete void of communication, but there’s a lot of speculation and we have to be really careful.
“Everyone thinks they are an analyst. They look at the vaccine rollout, then speculate; look at statistics from particular countries and then speculate whether that destination will be on the green list. But speculation on countries is just fuelling anxiety and it’s the travel industry that’s left to pick up the pieces.
“The last thing we need is more speculation to fuel bookings, trends and decisions being made when we don’t know what the stats are going to look like, we don’t know the matrix, how factors will be weighted.
“Until we have that clarification of the framework, it’s going to make things very difficult on the other side if you are speculating on which countries are in or out.”
Ms Lo Bue-Said shares the industry’s hopes that the Government will heed the Transport Select Committee’s advice to reveal details on 1 May.
“Let’s see if the Government is held that that,” she said.
In the meantime, she advises: “The right thing to do is to make sure that we make it very clear as an industry about the advantages of booking with professionals – with human travel agents – about financial protection and flexibility.
“What gives us all that confidence to buy is some flexibility.”
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