Few would argue that in the immediate post-pandemic world, there will be fewer travel agents. But for G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip that is great for those who have remained.
“I just see opportunity,” he said.
“You have more people wanting to travel, the same amount of travel product to sell and less people selling.”
“Go buy some jewellery,” he joked during an industry webinar late last week.
After any major disruption in travel the travel agent always rises, Poon Tip said. And that’s never been more true than with COVID-19.
“Travel agents have become advocates for their customers.”
But Poon Tip admitted that the industry is losing a lot of good people. Finding qualified talent and training them is a “ramp up challenge”, he said, adding that having fewer travel agents isn’t great for operators like G Adventures, which will now have fewer points of sale.
Despite 59% of people claiming that lockdowns have made them want to travel MORE than before, (based on a global survey commissioned by G Adventures) there will of course be challenges as we move out of the pandemic, he said.
At six months into the pandemic, Poon Tip said that most companies can survive a month of no revenue, but not half a year. In order to survive the pandemic, companies lucky enough to have been treading water for twelve months will have to look at recapitalisation.
And while some in the industry have decried the government’s support given to the aviation sector, Poon Tip said that getting people back on flights was crucial for the survival of the tourism industry as a whole.
“We know too much now about how dangerous breath clouds are,” he said, the goal is to get more people on flights, to fly “comfortably” and “mindlessly”.
Stay tuned for more insights from Poon Tip.
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