Will you be entering 2020 on a high or wishing you could put the last year firmly behind you? As we get ready to enter the next decade, we look at some of the travel winners and losers of 2019.
Sharm el Sheikh
Hoteliers in Sharm el Sheikh breathed a big sigh of relief back in October when a four-year ban on flights from the UK was finally lifted, allowing airlines and tour operators to get the popular Egyptian resort back in their programmes. First off the blocks was Red Sea Holidays, whose first flight took off in mid December, and TUI is set to return in February. With a loyal following and some keen pricing, it shouldn’t take long for the destination to bounce back.
Here at TravelMole headquarters we’re big fans of Travel Gossip, the Facebook forum launched by Sara Mason-Parker, and it seems that you love it too. Despite its strict criteria – Inteletravel were banned earlier this year after a members vote – membership has nearly doubled in the last two years to more than 19,600 members today. With its 10-year anniversary coming up in April, we reckon the figure will easily hit the 20,000 mark. Travel Gossip works because it gives agents a chance to share their expertise and to let off steam, and it also gives suppliers – and us journalists – a valuable insight into the key issues affecting your businesses, the daily challenges you face, and the detailed info you need to clinch that sale, such as…
The marketing team at On the Beach
We absolutely love the new laid back ad campaign from On the Beach, featuring the voice of Iggy Pop, which launched on our TV screens over the Christmas period. It’s really memorable and stands out from the crowd, and it’s a massive improvement on that creepy sand man!
John and Irene Hays
Dubbed the ‘heroes of the high street’, John and Irene Hays suddenly found themselves in a media whirl when they stepped in to buy Thomas Cook’s 555 shops after the travel giant’s sad demise. From Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, from the Sun to the Telegraph, it was a PR’s dream. The Sunderland couple couldn’t step out the door without being recognised and received tens of thousands of letters and emails from members of the public congratulating them. We’re just surprised they didn’t make this year’s New Year’s Honours list..
Love her or hate her, it seems that any cruise line that welcomes the cruise cabaret singer on board does very well out of it, thank you. Her TV series, Cruising with Jane McDonald, has already won several awards, including a BAFTA, and immediately boosts the bookings of any cruise line featured. There’s even a new industry term for it – the ‘Jane effect’. So, we were obviously delighted to share the news that the darling of the seas will be chartering her own ship next year. What’s next? McDonald Cruise Line?
It’s been a terrible year for anyone involved in the tourism industry in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protests have disrupted flights and have deterred visitors, causing massive drops in hotel occupancies. Some airlines have even pulled routes altogether. Further protests are planned over the next few days. We hope they are peaceful and that a resolution is quickly found.
She’s a much-loved travel media legend but poor old Judith landed the ITV in hot water earlier this year when she appeared on Good Morning Britain with Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard. Her reference to Travel Republic – a company she has commercial links with – as a ‘marvellous company’ was deemed to have breached Ofcom rules for making promotional statements. We bet Travel Republic wasn’t complaining though.
There’s no doubting, of course, that we fully applaud hotels for their decision to ditch miniatures for shampoos and body lotions in favour of larger, and preferably non-plastic dispensers. The environmental benefits are clear, but we’re sure we’re not alone in feeling a tiny bit sad that this little holiday luxury is set to be phased out and that from now on our bathrooms cabinets will be looking slightly less exotic.
It’s going to take more than a new year to turn things around for aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which suffered a major blow to its reputation after one of its newest models, the 737 MAX, crashed for the second time. The aircraft remains grounded as we enter 2020 but even when it’s given the all-clear and is back in the air, it will be a long time before it regains the trust of both airline crew and passengers. Plus there are lawsuits yet to come from the families of the victims and from shareholders. We think Boeing should be preparing for further turbulence.
First and business class
It’s a trend that quietly started in 2018 but the last year has seen an acceleration in the demise of first class cabins and, surprisingly, it’s the Asian carriers who are leading the pack. As newer aircraft come in, first class cabins are either disappearing altogether or significantly shrinking in size. And business class could be next, if the CEO of Wizz Air gets his way. Jozsef Varadi has begun a campaign calling for the industry to eliminate business class on flights under five hours to help tackle climate change.