The travel agency sector is expected to recover fully from the start of the crisis at the end of the year, with APAVT estimating that turnover will increase overall by 9 to 10 per cent.
“The recent history of travel agencies is a record of growth. Travel agencies have grown in recent years more than the national economy, have grown more than tourism, have grown more than air travel, and this year despite all these new difficulties and normative atmospheres, we expect to end the year with a growth in leisure of around 10% and incorporate [travel segment] we will not be far from 8% or 9% “, said the president of Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (APAVT).
Without realizing the overall value of the estimated turnover, Pedro Costa Ferreira says, however, that only in the sale of airline tickets of scheduled airlines the value will be close to 900 million euros.
“We have an important statistic that is the sale of air tickets in regular airlines – which we call the BSP – and we are in the accumulated to September to grow 7%, which is a frankly attractive number for the sector, especially considering the extraordinary operational difficulties that this year we had to manage with our customers motivated by the break-in ‘performance’ of TAP quality, “explains Pedro Costa Ferreira.
So “if we talk only about regular air tickets we will be very close to 900 million euros this year,” he adds.
That said, in the global – leisure and corporate travel – in terms of turnover, the president of APAVT claims to be able to estimate growth between “9 to 10%” in 2018.
“It’s a pretty attractive number if we think that in recent years we have grown at very similar rates. I would say that we have reached this year, certainly, the figures for 2008 and we can say that we have recovered fully from the beginning of the crisis.”
For the accounts, it contributes to the entry into force last July of the new directive of organized trips, but whose quantification of the increase of costs the responsible one says not to have, even because the operation of the sector “was with costs higher”, but also it is true which, as “in any economic transaction”, these costs are passed on to the consumer, he points out.
“So there is a balance that ends sooner or later to be achieved,” he says.
“As we all know, this new directive brings increased travel agency responsibilities and also more safety to consumers travelling with travel agents. There was, of course, some concern because it was a completely new legislative framework from the point of view of responsibilities and even The great truth is that we faced a summer with this normative framework and it went well, “notes Pedro Costa Ferreira.
According to the APAVT president, “normal operations were indeed the rule” and the association developed insurance that allowed the agencies to market them and to ensure the new risk.
“From this point of view, I think we can all be satisfied, the transposition [of the directive] has proved to be able to organize the new atmosphere of the relationship between customers and travel agents and, above all, travel agents have also proved to be up to new responsibilities, “he says.
The 44th APAVT National Congress begins today in Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, and brings together more than 600 agents from the sector to discuss the challenges of growth in tourism in Portugal.