Travel agencies confident in recovery, but 95% below pre-pandemic activity

The Trade Association of Specialized Travel Agencies (A cave) considers that 2021 was the year in which the recovery began for Spanish travel agencies, although many companies in the sector are still immersed in a complicated situation that will continue this year. According to Acave data, presented this Thursday at the Fitur fair, for 40% of companies in the sector, the volume of travel reservations in 2021 represented an increase of more than 50% compared to 2020, while for 35% of those consulted, growth was between 25% and 50%. Marti Sarratethe president of Acave acknowledged that in the sector they are “optimistic, but also cautious”, because “95% of agencies have not yet regained the level of reserves of 2019”.

Sarrate defends that in the current situation of uncertainty generated by the pandemic, travel agencies have reinforced their role as intermediaries: “The uncertainty caused by the pandemic and its consequences has prompted many customers to turn to travel agencies as a safer platform for organizing their holidays”. According to the results, most of the agencies surveyed consider that the factors most appreciated by their customers in 2021 were – and will continue to be in 2022 – professional advice. on the requirements and documentation needed to travel to each destination; guaranteed money back in the event of border closures or quarantines; and flexibility in last-minute changes.

Agency customers have also increased their anticipation of contractual trips over the past year. According to the results, 30% of reservations were made between 3 and 4 months in advance, and 5% between 3 and 6 months before. 26% of customers contracted their trips 1 month before their vacation. According to the president of Acave, “these data show that the majority of Spaniards who have used travel agencies have sought to prepare their trips in advance with the

International travel boom

The results of the survey show an interesting change for 2022 in the contracting of vacations in travel agencies, since it is expected that the products most demanded by Spaniards in this new year will be mainly international trips. . It is a perception that airlines like Vueling, for example, corroborate. The five products that the agencies agree to name as the favorites for 2022 are Europe, the United States, African countries and safaris, destinations in South America and Asian countries. This trend would demonstrate the renewed confidence of travelers to travel outside our borders. By country, the most requested should be France, the United States, Egypt, the Maldives, Costa Rica, Mexico (Caribbean) and the Dominican Republic. In the field of national destinations, Spaniards who go to travel agencies to organize their holidays will refer to coastal destinations, mainly the Balearic and Canary Islands.

In the area of ​​incoming agencies, 85% of respondents agree that the most important source markets for Spain this year will remain France and Benelux. These markets will be followed in importance by the United Kingdom, Germany and the Nordic countries. 87.5% of agencies also agree that the flexibility of booking conditions will be the most decisive factor for the purchase decision, followed by security and confidence in the application of covid measures.

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Asked about their situation, only 35% of travel agencies say they have reopened 100% of their points of sale and have their entire team (without permanent staff). For their part, 35% of respondents were able to reopen all their points of sale but were forced to keep some of their employees at ERTE. 26% have only opened part of their offices and maintain permanent staff, and finally 4% have remained closed to this day. Regarding the implementation of telework, 26% of respondents say that their company has restored 100% face-to-face work, while 39% have opted for a mixed office work and telework model. For their part, 35% of companies declare that 100% of their employees telework.

The Corporative Association of Specialized Travel Agencies (ACAVe) is the employers’ association of state travel agencies based in Catalonia and comprises 450 associates and approximately 1,000 points of sale throughout Spain.

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