Travel agents optimistic for 2014 despite a disappointing 2013

Lifestyle | Wed 29 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
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Following last year’s startlingly good weather, it comes as no surprise that 40% of Irish travel agents reported a drop in turnover in 2013 in comparison to 2012, whilst 36% reported a small increase in turnover of between 0-10%.

The quarterly ITAA survey found that optimism was high amongst its members in relation to the coming year with 88% of the travel agents expecting an increase in turnover in 2014 in comparison to 2013, 8% of ITAA members expect that business will remain the same and just 4% are expecting a decrease in turnover in 2014.

ITAA members reported that Turkey was the destination that offered the best value for money in 2013 closely followed by Spain and the Canary Islands. Looking to 2014, 56% of ITAA members expect Spain to be their most popular destination of the year; the top four destinations for 2014 are expected to be Spain, Portugal, Turkey and the US.

The survey also found that customer loyalty and retention amongst ITAA travel agents is strong with, on average, 52% of business coming directly from repeat customers.

Pat Dawson, chief executive of the ITAA commented on today’s findings: “I am not surprised that overall 2013 saw a drop in turnover for many travel agents, it mirrors the discussions I have been having with our members. The unusually good weather during the summer unsurprisingly had a negative effect on the numbers travelling abroad looking for sun.”

Dawson continued: “I am pleased to see confidence amongst our members in relation to travel in 2014, already, January has been a strong month with a high level of enquiries and bookings. Already our members are seeing trends emerge for 2014, including high interest in family camping holidays to France, Mediterranean cruises and Icelandic Northern Lights experiences.”