There are less than 3 weeks to go until Christmas and we have pretty much finalised all our plans for the New Year. Our 2013 holiday brochures are printed and will be in travel agents this week in good time for what we hope will be strong post-Christmas demand to book summer holidays. A major project to improve our online booking service is about to go live and will make the process of booking via our websites quicker and easier. Our marketing programmes for the New Year are in place, so we are ready to go!
One big new development for our company next year is the launch of direct flights from Glasgow to Guernsey. We are very excited that we are operating our first charter flights into Guernsey and the first direct flight from Scotland to the island for many years. I hope our Scottish clients will consider a holiday in Guernsey in 2013 and take advantage of this direct route.
Yesterday, we heard more gloomy news from the Chancellor that the UK economic recovery is going to take a lot longer than we had all hoped. Despite intense lobbying, the travel industry failed in its attempt to get a freeze in air passenger duty resulting in significant increases in the cost of air travel from April next year – although happily not so significant for the Channel Islands. 2008 seems a long time ago now, but it looks as if it could be a decade from when the original global economic collapse began, before the country is fully back on its feet.
Despite the huge pressures that are being placed on everyone by the Government’s austerity measures, it seems that the opportunity to take a holiday remains a key requirement for many of us. This is supported by the performance of the UK’s biggest tour operator, TUI (owners of Thomson Holidays) who reported strong profit improvements for the past year.
There is no doubt that with current economic difficulties, customers are looking for even more value, and often a packaged holiday provides this over buying the individual elements separately. The other key benefit is that holidays purchased from tour operators are financially protected and recent new rules introduced by the Government will ensure that clients are absolutely clear about what elements of their holiday are protected and by whom.
So we go forward into the New Year, full of optimism. It just remains for me to wish you, on behalf of everyone at Channel Islands Travel Group, a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2013.