Your bucket list destinations for 2023
15th December 2022
This last year and a half has been a complex, strange time to be in the travel industry. In normal circumstances we exist to enable travellers to feel happy and fulfilled; to escape the everyday; to make connections and bonds across borders. Obviously these are not normal circumstances.
The people who work in this industry do it because we love travelling, we feel passionate about the places we visit, we want to support our colleagues and partners around the world, and lead the charge towards making travel fairer and better for everyone.
Many of us come into the travel industry and never leave, not because we feel trapped, but because it’s fun and rewarding. Imagine arriving at the office to a comment from a returning customer saying they’ve just had the best trip of their whole lives? It’s the very best feeling you can have, to hear that your work led to that feedback.
Behind that feedback is a long chain of people - talking to our customers, building our web platform, writing newsletters, finding new local experts or researching new destinations, ensuring everything runs smoothly and is accounted for properly. And when you are on the trip itself there are guides, drivers, waiters, housekeeping staff, porters, chefs and many others that turn your dream into a reality. Everybody plays their part, and in doing so creates a livelihood for themselves.
After 15 months of tight restrictions on international travel it is fair to say that many of those livelihoods are now jeopardised. TravelLocal is, I’m glad to say, well able to withstand whatever Covid throws at us - we are backed by four significant investment funds in the UK. But many other UK travel companies - some of the best names in the business - look to be in various shades of trouble. Some may not pull through.
The cruel irony is that these are perfectly sound businesses caught out by Fate - happily trading outside the Covid “hurricane”, but battered and severely weakened inside it. We believe in a competitive market, but that is not what Covid is bringing about.
With targeted financial assistance from the UK government these companies would bounce back out of the pandemic and thrive again. The livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of people that work in the travel industry - at which, it’s worth saying, the UK is a world leader - would be protected, and the many negative consequences that follow a sudden loss of livelihood would be avoided.
Of course downstream of the troubles of the UK’s travel industry are our local experts around the world - our business is centred around their capabilities. Anything that helps them grow quickly back out of the pandemic is a good thing.
TravelLocal is a member of ABTA - the Association of British Travel Agents. ABTA is organising a Day Of Action on the 23rd June, to lobby the UK government for direct financial support for the travel industry - similar to what many other European governments have offered their respective travel companies. We support that stance. You can learn more about the ABTA Day Of Action here: