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Holiday concerns

Tourism fears after Egypt plane crash are "challenging" for travel industry, says report

Head of International Travel Law Nick Harris

Dated: 13th November 2015

A leading supplier of foreign currency says many prospective tourists are exercising caution before booking their holidays for next year.

In a report, First Rate Exchange Services (FRES) says the travel business could be facing a "challenging" period. The findings come at a time many potential buyers of foreign holidays are being put off by the recent airliner disaster in Egypt.

1 in 5 concerned about foreign travel

According to the FRES Holiday Confidence Index (HCI) Winter 2015, around 20% of more than 5,000 subjects are still uncertain about foreign travel in 2016 – a hike of some 3% since August.

Alistair Rennie of FRES said the travel industry must provide more assurances for doubtful consumers.

"Disappointingly for travel companies, who would like to see the amount spent on booking holidays moving upwards, there is nothing to suggest that this is happening."

Do uncertainties about the economy influence holiday purchase?

"The doubts about travelling overseas reflect uncertainty over the broad economic climate and consumers' worries about their personal expenditure," said Nick Harris, a specialist in travel law with Simpson Millar LLP.

"In comparison with summer 2015, fewer individuals and families are expecting improvements in the economy and their own circumstances."

Holiday safety concerns in 2016

Stay calm, says tourism body

Meanwhile the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) has asked holidaymakers to remain calm amid fears for security in Egypt.

AITO chair Derek Moore conceded that the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 at the end of October might present a problem for a struggling tourism business. But he urged people not to overreact until the situation has become more clear.

"Only then can we assess any wider impact on the aviation and tourism sectors further afield."

Mr Moore added that while the cessation of air-travel between the UK and Sharm el-Sheikh is unhelpful to British holidaymakers, "the authorities are taking the only logical course of action until the situation becomes clear."

Co-operation is crucial, says Harris

Nick Harris called for co-operation betweens all stakeholders to defuse holidaymakers' fears about overseas travel, particularly to the Middle East.

"The British and Egyptian governments must put their heads together with all businesses involved in foreign travel to clarify the situation for British tourists," Nick said. "Failing this, it's likely the travel industry will continue to suffer."