Agents advised to widen choices for clients

Customers stuck with same holiday options presented to them

Travel agents are often failing to offer alternative holiday destinations to consumers, according to one chain of agencies, so that the vast majority of holidaymakers go to the same tried and tested countries, year after year. The UK-based chain Co-operative Travel conducted a survey that found that more than half of British people who holiday abroad go to just four countries – Spain, Greece, Turkey and the US. As many as 29% of people in Britain go on holiday to Spain, followed by 10% to Greece, 8% to Turkey and 6% to the US. Yet 93% of respondents said they wanted to travel more widely.
Cost is often given as a reason for visiting the same destinations without considering others, but it is also because alternatives are rarely mentioned by the agent. Many respondents listed Lebanon and Brazil, for example, as places they wanted to travel to but felt restricted by price. Yet Lebanon is a cheaper place for a package holiday than Egypt, while Brazil is substantially cheaper than Barbados. “What’s more likely to be holding these countries back is the failure of the mainstream holiday market to offer them as viable alternatives,” said a Co-operative Travel representative.
[pictured: The Co-operative Travel branch, courtesy The Co-operative Group]