Vinod Kelwani, chief executive of Technoheaven, says the COVID pandemic saw agents being turned to for essential advice, relevant choices and sustainable travel options
Guest Post: It's good to see the role of professional travel advisors being celebrated
With the reopening of borders and visitors once again being welcomed around the world it comes as no surprise that certain countries are setting new rules for travellers.
PCR testing has all but disappeared but proof of vaccination is now required to enter most countries.
Spain announced earlier this year that British holidaymakers will be required to prove they have sufficient funds of at least £85 a day per person to enter the country.
They also need to have proof of a return or onward travel ticket and evidence of accommodation for the duration of their stay.
Safety updates, return home requirements, travel to airports and more are at best unclear and in some cases not working at all.
I’ve heard of travellers being turned away at airports because they couldn’t prove they’d had both vaccinations.
Navigating our way through the current travel requirements isn’t easy at all and while airlines post information on their sites, which in some cases is being changed daily, this is when travellers rely on the advice and experience of a travel advisor.
Advisors are updating clients, not just on travel requirements, but also able to book with suppliers that focus on guest and customer safety.
Resorts may be operating at reduced capacity or providing health tests and upgraded safety rules and travel advisors have this knowledge to hand, saving many hours of research on airlines, hotels, cruise lines and tour operators.
It’s not only tedious but can result in expensive mistakes such as being refused entry.
It is inevitable that travel arrangements may not go as planned. In such situations, having someone at hand to assist and help in sorting out the situation is invaluable and reassuring.
Travel agents usually use local operators for their ground arrangements. They will be on hand to meet client’s needs at their destination.
Much has been written about the future focus on sustainability in travel.
Travellers are inspired to be more responsible and they will want to know which companies support local communities or what suppliers are doing to provide them with green experiences.
Contemporary travellers are demanding more diverse, bespoke experiences and advisors play a major role in providing sustainable options.
Trade Associations have conducted think tanks with industry leaders and travel advisors, looking at the state of the industry before, during and after the pandemic.
The consensus has been that travellers are more likely to book a sustainable experience if they are presented with opportunities for sustainable options by their advisors.
Luxury travellers are seeking more meaningful experiences - meeting local residents and engaging in experiential and life changing travel.
Travel advisors have the connections that enable them to create custom itineraries for clients based on their needs and desires.
And they’re able to bring more travellers to a destination which works for the local destinations keen to welcome people to their towns and cities.
It’s probably a little-known fact that the UK and Ireland celebrated national travel agent day last month.
This is an industry-wide celebration of the role travel agents play for the industry and a reminder of the importance of booking a holiday with the help of an advisor.
It’s good to see that these experienced and knowledgeable people are starting to get the recognition for their work they deserve.