ABTA moots industry ad campaign

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is hoping to stem the decline in holiday bookings through its members with a national newspaper competition. It has not ruled out the possibility of running an ad campaign promoting its members’ services.

The body says it is exploring the possibility of a marketing campaign to promote the benefits of booking holidays with approved travel agents, although it says it has no funds available for advertising at present.

SWK London holds ABTA’s advertising account. The association’s last campaign ran in autumn 2002, with the strapline “Without us, you are on your own”.

On Saturday, the organisation launches a competition through The Sun news- paper, designed to highlight the contribution travel agents can make to a holiday, with the top prize a cruise.

Readers will be asked to send in human interest stories about how travel agents have helped to enhance their vacation.

Frances Tuke of ABTA says that the idea is to attract a greater number of holidaymakers to high-street travel agents.

She says sales have suffered in recent years, owing to the rise in the number of bookings made online and through call centres, and the rise in “DIY” holidays.

“Airlines and hotels are now competing with tour operators, travel agents and online operators,” she says.

ABTA head of corporate affairs Keith Betton says an ad campaign has been suggested as a good way of raising the industry’s profile.

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