Coronavirus won’t change long-term travel plans, says agent

‘The great British public will always want to go on holiday, and that won’t change,’ says Miles Morgan

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 04 March 2020 13:57 GMT
No long-term damage from the coronavirus says leading travel agent

Despite the slump in new bookings for flights and holidays, a leading travel agent has predicted that the coronavirus crisis will have only a short-term impact on travel.

Speaking to The Independent, Miles Morgan said: “Short term, certainly, we’re going to be under pressure, no doubt about that.

“But longer term, the great British public will always want to go on holiday. And that won’t change.”

He was speaking as a survey of airport travellers by Holiday Extras found that one in 10 UK travellers said they had decided against all international travel during the outbreak of Covid-19.

In addition, 13 per cent said they had cancelled a trip reluctantly: because their airline cancelled their booking, because a work trip was cancelled or after taking medical advice.

Mr Morgan, who has a chain of 18 travel agencies in South Wales and the west of England, said: “The amount of deaths we’re seeing from coronavirus is very limited and are clearly from a certain segment of the market – older and more infirm clients.

“I think what we’re going to see is that either it becomes normal, and people get used to the fact that this is around, and put it in perspective in terms of the number of normal flu deaths we get every year – or it will explode and go out of control.

“From a personal perspective I think it will probably be the former.”

Holiday Extras, which sells airport hotels, parking and other options, has introduced a cut-price cancellation guarantee, saying: “This month we’re making it fast, free and flexible to book your next trip – even if you think your plans might have to change.

“For peace of mind you can now cancel your airport parking or airport lounge free for 50p.”

Virgin Atlantic is the latest airline to introduced flexibility in a bid to stimulate demand.

From today until the end of March, passengers who book with the airline will be able to change their plans until the end of September 2020 – though they may still need to pay the difference in fare.

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