THE blasts in Turkey have done little to help the European travel industry with thousands of holiday cancellations being made in the UK and here in the Balearics, for example. But some travel experts fear this winter may claim another victim: a major British tour operator. Institute of Travel and Tourism chairman Steven Freudmann said he expects one major operator to go out of business this winter as a result of the worst market conditions he has ever seen. He said three successive years of bad trading had battered the industry and threatened its survival. It's not just small independents who are struggling. It's clear the large players are in difficulty as well, he warned.
Speaking at a Tourism Society debate last week, Freudmann refused to name any operators but said it's my opinion that a big player is likely to fail this winter. He said it was an indication of just how bad market conditions were. Frankly we need two or three years of sustained, unqualified growth to reverse the damage of the past three years, he said. Civil Aviation Authority deputy head of the consumer protection group David Moesli said it had been surprising there had not been more failures to date. Freudmann said the strict financial criteria put in place by ABTA and the CAA meant there had not been more casualties. He added We are holding our breath because business is more difficult than anyone can remember. ABTA president John Harding said companies had been very resilient considering market conditions.
He added cruising remained an area which seemed to be selling, although this had been influenced by discounting.
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