Travel agencies need to reinvent themselves and offer alternatives to air travel, such as domestic trips or interesting routes by car. This is one of the conclusions of the fifth webinar organized by the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi: “Reactivación de las agencias ante la nueva normalidad” (Reactivating travel agencies in the new normal).
Francesc Escánez, general director of Atlántida Viatges, predicted that domestic tourism will be restored first, along with local destinations like France and Portugal that can be accessed by car.
Nevertheless, Emili Valdero, a professor of Markets and Tourism Sectors at HTSI, noted that “as long as we don’t recuperate long-distance trips, agencies are faced with a big challenge: customers can make domestic reservations on their own.”
Another key factor is that customers will value safety and hygiene over price. “Travel agencies are the only ones who can offer customers a guarantee of safety, and we can ensure that consumers can travel without worrying”, noted Martí Sarrate, president of the ACAVe (Catalan Association of Specialized Travel Agencies). Sarrate was confident that travel agencies will come out of this crisis even stronger.
Reservations, the international market, protocols and possible quality seals, changes in customer behaviour, the role of administrations and pricing policy were other subjects discussed by the experts.
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