The British holidaymaker is back in fine fettle with a January jump in bookings for the summer.
Helping sales is a growing army of 2,000 personal travel agents who work from home and visit clients whenever convenient.
Worries about a Brexit effect on travel and the economy caused a lull over Christmas, but the vital New Year selling season is off to a rapid start.
Bookings so far for May to October are up 5% versus the same period last year.
Michelle Tolton, from the village of Rothley, near Leicester, sells holidays in clients’ houses, over the phone and via Facebook.
“It’s going well this year,” she says, “People are booking early. They want to escape the doom and gloom.
“I do all the legwork because they have busy lives.”
Visiting a local customer, Kate Newman, the talk is about a holiday for 16 members of her family to one of this year’s most popular destinations.
“We’re still thinking of Turkey – you get more for your money,” Kate explains.
Michelle is well on her way to her target of a hundred bookings for the year.
Many are to Europe, but she has also sold trips to see gorillas and luxury jaunts to Mauritius and Australia.
The last two weeks have been a crucial period for the travel industry, after pre-Christmas speculation that people would be advised not to book trips for fear of a no-deal Brexit.
But the New Year has been even busier than usual, according to the latest figures from the market specialists GfK Travel Insights.
Non-EU destinations are up 19% compared with last year. That includes Turkey, but also Egypt and Tunisia.
The typical spend is higher as well, with the average selling price per person up slightly to £982.
The travel agents group, ABTA, says its surveys show that 38% of holidaymakers plan to spend the same as last year and 27% intend to spend more.
Alistair Rowland of Co-operative Travel believes some customers could be cutting back on mini-breaks and allocating more cash to their main holiday.
And he believes they are not being distracted by concerns about the UK leaving the EU.
“I think if anything people are so tired of Brexit, and they are used to their pound buying less,” he says.
“They are not willing to give up their main holiday of the year and they’re willing to invest in it.”
Travel shops are under pressure as more travellers buy over the internet.
But industry insiders expect the new breed of Personal Travel Agents will lead the fightback.
There could be a thousand more of them over the next few years, working from their kitchens and encouraging us to book early and book often.
Even this year, though, there are still plenty of would-be holidaymakers who prefer to bide their time and hold out for a bargain later on.
Grand Egyptian Museum Granted Three ISO Certificates Reflecting Its Excellence
Another reason to be proud of our Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), as if we needed more reasons!
Major General Atef Moftah, General Supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), received on behalf of the museum two ISO certificates: a certificate of accreditation of international standards for environmental management systems (ISO 14001: 2015) and certification of the international standard specifications for the quality management systems (ISO9001: 2015).
Engineer Mohamed Habib, General Manager of OSS Middle East and Dr. Tarek Rizk, consultant of OSS Middle East and witnessed by Dr. Hussein Kamal, were the ones to present the certificated in the presence of General Director of the GEM Conservation Center, Dr. Eissa Zidan, Director of Executive Affairs of GEM Conservation and Transportation, and Dr. Elshimaa Eid, Head of Health and Safety at GEM.
This brings the total of certificated that the museum has been awarded to three, as the museum obtained the ISO certificate for occupational safety and health last September.
It’s also worth mentioning that this makes the GEM the only museum regionally and internationally to obtain three ISO certificates in less than 60 days!
These certificates resemble the positive impact that the museum have on the area and its surroundings, it also positions the museum as a sustainable and environmental museum.
Diving & Scuba Activities to Resume in Parts of South Sinai
As of December, diving and scuba activities for yachts on cruises will resume in six nature reserve diving sites in South Sinai, according to a statement made by Egypt’s Ministry of Environment.
The diving sites include: the Temple, North Laguna, South Laguna, White Island, Electricity, and Map.
The decision by Egypt’s Environmental Affairs Agency follows the cessation of diving activities that lasted for nine months, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Egypt’s health ministry announced Wednesday that South Sinai, Minya, Suez and Ismailia have recently seen a drop in infection rates, unlike Cairo and Alexandria.
According to the statement, “These sites were chosen after carrying out a number of field studies and scientific surveys, and after ensuring that they are distinguished by all the appropriate environmental requirements for diving sites to achieve the enjoyment of those involved in diving activities,” quoting Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad.
43 Floating Hotels & Nile Cruises Obtain Health and Safety Certificates
So far, a total number of 43 floating hotels and Nile Cruise ships have obtained the government mandated health and safety certificates.
These hotels and ships have started the resumption of their trips in October and ever since, they have been obtaining the certificates that are approved by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministry of Health and Population and the Egyptian Hotels Association (EHA).
According to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, these floating hotels obtained the certificates for meeting the health and safety requirements set out by the Egyptian government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The ministry’s inspection committees approved 26 floating hotels between Luxor and Aswan last week, including: Nile Dolphin Hotels; Solaris 1; Premium; Amo Boat; Abercrombie 2; Zaina; Medea; La Travita; Tosca; Beau Rivage 1; Château Lafayette; Esmeralda; Champollion 2; Abercrombie Nile Adventure; Crown Jewels; Royal; Regency Louvain; Miss World; Nile Plaza; Nile Shams; Emilio; Miss Beau Rivage 2; Nile Marquis; Blue Shadow; and Farah. In addition to these, the Nile Vision and River Boats in Cairo also received ministry approval to resume their trips.
The inspection committees will continue looking at the rest of Egypt’s floating hotels, the ones that submitted applications for the certificate.
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