The day, which was founded three years ago by Intrepid Travel, aims to encourage customers to book with their local travel agent. Suppliers are also being urged to support agents with special deals or incentives to increase bookings.
Tour operators including Intrepid, Gold Medal, Shearings, Audley travel, Fred. Holidays and Newmarket have taken the opportunity to thank trade partners for their continued hard work despite a challenging few years.
Intrepid is encouraging trade bookings by offering up to 20% discount off 2022 trips until tomorrow (July 22), exclusive to agents.
Joanna Reeve, Intrepid’s Head of Business Development and Partnerships, said: “Intrepid’s theme this year is celebration and collaboration. Although travel is back, times are still tough for agents as they get their businesses back up and running and deal with airline disruptions and the cost of living crisis. This is a time to celebrate and support agents and show our appreciation for their hard work.”
Simon Applebaum, Managing Director – Gold Medal Group, said: “At Gold Medal, every day is ‘Travel Agent Day’. Without our agent partners, none of the brands in the Gold Medal Group would be the success they are. We truly appreciate the work they do to make the dreams of holidaymakers come true – especially after the last couple of years. Whether it is luxury travel, incredible adventures, cruising or a special long-haul trip somewhere beautiful, we know that our agent partners across the UK will be there with us to ensure the customer is cared for and gets the holiday they want.”
Greg Thurston, Trade Sales Manager at Audley Travel noted that 2022 is already the company’s best year ever for sales made through the trade. He said: “This success is down to the fantastic support we’ve had from our loyal agents who have worked collaboratively with us to confirm bookings, rearrange travel plans as needed and keep clients happy throughout the last couple of very challenging years. We are looking forward to continuing to work with, and support, travel agents to further build on this success.”
Fred. Holidays shared this optimism, noting the company’s recent growth to new and returning agent partners rebooking and booking new customers. Simon Chambers, General Manager of Fred. Holidays, said: “Thank you for the support shown, not only this year but throughout the pandemic. We appreciate it isn’t always easy with the changes and disruptions and are thankful for all the hard work that our travel agent partners do to make travel successful.”
Richard Forde, Head of Trade Sales at Newmarket Holidays, spoke of how important trade relationships are and the important role agents play in boosting consumer confidence. He said: “We know everyone is working very hard to make customers feel confident to book post pandemic and to answer all the questions customers have prior to travelling.”
He added: “Together we’ve taken thousands of customers on wish-list holidays this year. Thank you to every travel agent who has supported Newmarket Holidays and the return to travel in general in 2022. Keep it going into 2023 and beyond!”
Another touring company that relies heavily on trade bookings is Shearings. Ashley Dellow, Leger and Shearings Group’s Head of Retail Sales, said: “Travel agents are hugely important to Shearings and Leger Holidays and have played an integral role for Leger Shearings Group, coming out of the pandemic, helping our sales recover and grow rapidly. We’d like to sincerely thank our trade partners for their phenomenal support and we appreciate their resilience, hard work, grit and the determination they have shown over the two very challenging pandemic years.”
Tourist boards were also quick to share their gratitude and plans to continue to support agents through training programmes and events.
Speaking on behalf of Destination Canada, which recently launched a Canada Specialist Programme for the trade, Adam Hanmer, Trade Manager, said: “Our thanks to all our Canada Specialist Travel Agents. Thank you for embracing the new Canada Specialist Programme and booking and rebooking over the last few challenging years. And if you haven’t signed up yet? Find out more via canadaspecialist.co.uk
Hanmer added: “Canada remains the place with space. Demand remains strong and we do recommend consumers book early for 2023 to secure their dream trip.”
Representing the Pacific Asia Tourism Association, Chris Crampton, Chairman of PATA UK & Ireland, thanked agents for their dedication and enthusiasm to learn, he said: “On behalf of PATA we’d like to express our sincere gratitude to travel agents across the UK. You continue to play a vital role in the industry and we recognise your incredible hard work and dedication to support Pacific Asia.
“Your enthusiasm to learn (we’ve met hundreds of you in person and online over the last year!) is inspiring. With the majority of the region open again and 80% of our agent network receiving enquiries we are excited to see tourism returning with your continued support. Thank you.”
Selling Travel would also like to take the opportunity to recognise the hard work of its readers and commend the agent community on its incredible resilience and optimism throughout these last challenging few years.