Increased popularity of travel agents in uncertain times

Increased popularity of travel agents in uncertain times

Holidaymakers in Cyprus are increasingly turning to travel agents for their vacation needs, according to the chairman of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (Acta) Charis Papacharalambous.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC on Thursday, Papacharalambous, whose association turns 70 this year, said the higher number of bookings at travel agents is evident, particularly the ones concerning the upcoming Easter holidays.

“Travel agents have witnessed an important surge in bookings, with many long weekend packages already sold out and reservations for Easter nearing exhaustion,” Acta’s chairman said.

“This only proves one thing, that, despite the possibility for holidaymakers to make arrangements on their own, they still rely on travel agents, more so in times of uncertainty like this period.”

Speaking at the Acta’s conference on Wednesday, Papacharalambous said 2023 had been “a record year for travel”, seeing tourist traffic five per cent higher than the previous high-water mark of 2019.

He also added that Cypriots’ favourite destination for Easter is Greece, in particular the island of Corfu, but that there is an increasing tendency for people to prefer European destinations such as Paris.

On Thursday, Papacharalambous stressed the importance of making travel arrangements in advance to avoid last-minute hassles and higher costs.

“There is a higher convenience and security offered by travel agents,” he explained. “Travellers who book through reputable agencies are protected from unforeseen circumstances such as airline strikes or flight cancellations.”

Despite the robust demand for travel services, Papacharalambous acknowledged the challenges faced by travel agents, including illegal activities in reservations and accommodations. He called for stricter measures to ensure a fair and transparent travel market for both consumers and businesses.

“As an association, we are recommending travellers to be careful when contacting travel agents,” he said. “They need to make sure that they have a proven record of reliability and that they offer more than just one solution.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Papacharalambous expressed optimism about the outlook for the travel industry, but anticipated lower numbers compared to last year.

“We will not see the same numbers this year, due to the geopolitical situation affecting the entire world and, as a consequence, the tourism market,” he said.

“While there may be some fluctuations due to external factors like the conflict in Israel, I believe the overall trajectory to be positive, with travellers showing confidence in the services provided by travel agents,” he concluded. Cyprus Mail

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