As 2016 draws to a close, we are once again seeing shocking images of an appalling terrorist attack on our TV screens. With the festive season almost upon us, our thoughts are with the victims of the Berlin Christmas Market attack and their families, just as they were earlier in the year with those in Brussels, Nice, Istanbul and all the other parts of the world where these cowardly acts have taken place. Despite these events, UK holidaymakers have been undaunted; record numbers have continued to go on holiday, but heading to tried and trusted destinations such as Spain and Portugal, away from countries in North Africa and, to a lesser extent, Turkey.
On the political front, we shall be dealing with the implementation of the EU referendum vote for some years to come. The uncertainty around Brexit has probably contributed to the decline in the value of the Pound, which does have an immediate impact on the outbound part of our industry. However, early bookings for summer 2017 are looking healthy which is a hopeful sign, and we anticipate that more people will be looking for the protection and reassurance offered by ABTA Members, and the cost control of all-inclusive packages.
We are coming up to the key booking period of the post-Christmas and New Year sales and I know that you will all be very busy. We shall be supporting you in peak booking season through our media messaging, and our new national advertising campaign which will kick off in early January and remind holidaymakers to “Be smart, always book with an ABTA travel company.”
I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who took part in this year’s Member survey. I am delighted to say that we had more respondents than last year, and it’s great to see continued engagement from our Members. We shall be providing detailed feedback in the New Year.
Finally, may I and everyone at ABTA wish you, your families and your colleagues a very happy Christmas and a successful, prosperous and healthy 2017.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive