Holiday firms go retro and open more high street shops
There was a time when it seemed that the old fashioned travel agent was doomed as everyone sought the best holiday deals on the internet or booked cheap flights over the phone.
Now two holiday giants Thomson and First Choice, both owned by Tui, are planning to open 30 more high street shops over the next two years after seeing a rise in demand from holidaymakers wanting to book their trips with a walking, talking human being.
A Mintel holiday report revealed there was a six per cent rise in the number of holidaymakers using travel agents from 2005 to 2009. However, the number of empty shops on Britain's high streets has risen from 10 per cent to 12.4 per cent in the past few months alone.
Thomson and First Choice said they had been listening to customers who want 'face-to-fact' contact when booking holidays. Distribution director Nick Longman said: Many consumers see the benefits of having a travel agent to do the work for them.
"This can be for a number of reasons. Whether they value the knowledge an agent can give them or they want the reassurance of having an expert make the booking."
"There are also a growing number of people who simply do not have time to undertake the research involved, so want to enlist the help of a third party."
However buying travel insurance is more straightforward than booking a holiday and travellers can make significant savings if they buy on the internet rather than over the counter at a travel agency.