THE last few months have tested us all. Even those predisposed to extreme optimism have been forced to confront the realities of the situation.
Yet for all that — and I’m certainly not one for sugar coating this, or any other issue — was I alone in finding the recent apocalyptic “discussion paper” published in Travel Daily mildly absurd in its negativity?
Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting reading and discussion papers, as the name suggests, are designed for that very purpose. I’ve said and written many things to stimulate debate and argument. Nothing wrong with that. It also made some valid observations. But suggestions of an almost orchestrated and systematic shut down of the travel industry? The situation is grim, that much is patently obvious, and some businesses are in a very precarious position. But I’m not so sure we’ve reached Ground Zero just yet.
The author of the paper, who refused to put his or her name to the document, called for an Agent of Last Resort to be established, which, if I’ve understood it correctly, will manage all outstanding bookings once agents pull the plug on their businesses.
Some may argue this is sound, logical thinking, based on cold hard realism. I call it defeatist.
It was a paper in which all hope was abandoned. It not so much threw in the towel as lobbed in a hotel’s worth of laundry.
It presupposes that countless travel businesses are ramshackle outfits, run by clueless owners with no business acumen and which possess no capital, no plan and no generally no idea. Now while that may describe a few out there, it is by no means the majority. There are plenty of excellently-run organisations, with strong balance sheets, no debt and a healthy client database who will travel again. Of course, it has been, and will continue to be, extraordinarily tough, even for the smartest firms. Regardless, let’s not write off the industry just yet.