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News 13.03.14 OFFSHORE BASE


No exodus following Lowcost’s UK exit


FEARS THAT a glut of OTAs would follow in the footsteps of Lowcostholidays and quit the UK have not been realised, TTGcan reveal. In the wake of the company’s decision to move offshore last autumn, fears were growing in the UK that other OTAs would see it as a way to escape Atol bonding. Only last month CAA consumer


protection group director Richard Jackson admitted Lowcost’s move had set a precedent that could ultimately jeopardise the Atol fund if more companies followed. But following a freedom of


information request, TTGcan reveal that in the past six months Lowcost is the only company to notify the CAA that it intended to move its business outside the UK. “Lowcost moved its operating base


off to the Balearic Islands at the tail end of 2013 and at that stage quite a lot of people were asking us if other companies were considering a similar move,” said David Moesli, deputy director of the CAA’s Consumer Protection Group. “We’re not aware of any other UK


operators who are looking at this at the moment. “Lowcost didn’t give us much time


to tell us it was moving and it’s possible others are looking at this and may decide to move at some stage, but at this moment we’re not aware of anyone else who is seriously considering it.”


EasyJet Holidays eyes the number three spot


Gary Noakes


EASYJET HOLIDAYS plans to become the UK’s number three operator, but will not initially sell through the trade despite becoming Atol-bonded, its general manager has said. Mandy Round said a new contract


with Tui-owned Hotelopia, replacing one with Lowcostbeds, would allow easyJet Holidays to overtake Cosmos and Jet2 Holidays, which occupy the third and fourth-biggest operator positions. EasyJet Holidays sits below them. “We believe we should be higher


than that, our aim is to be a good number three,” she said. Hotelopia has 60,000 hotels and apartments in 180 countries with an inventory six times bigger than Lowcostbeds.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER


Tempest to speak at Clia conference


Did you know? Chesapeake Bay is


rich in mouth-watering seafood – visitors to


Maryland and Virginia can sample famed blue crab in numerous waterfront restaurants.


CARNIVAL UK’S chief commercial officer Gerard Tempest has been confirmed as keynote speaker for Clia UK & Ireland’s 2014 Selling Cruise Conference. Tempest will be joined by Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s executive vice-president of sales and marketing. Daniel Radnor,


recently named Young Travel Agent of the Year at Clia’s Cruise Excellence Awards, will also present


at the event on 08 13.03.2014 Delegates can visit Cunard’s Queen Mary 2


May 22 and 23 in Southampton, which is expected to attract 400 delegates. Tempest was previously at


Whitbread, where he was responsible for Marriott Hotels and Premier Inn. He will be discussing recent


developments within the UK industry together with his perceptions of cruising as a newcomer to the industry and if there are lessons to be learnt from other travel sectors. Stuart will talk on the significant


changes at NCL over the past six years and provide a view from North America on how travel agents are growing their sales and adopting new techniques. Ship visits will also take place on


Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas and Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess. On May 24, delegates can also visit MSC Opera and Celebrity Eclipse.


The brand will sell Atol-bonded packages from May, when the Hotelopia partnership begins. “That does allow us to sell through the trade, but that’s not part of the agenda at the moment,” she said. Hotelopia won the contract from


an initial 22 tenders, with Lowcostbeds understood not to be among them. Round said Hotelopia fitted with easyJet Holidays’ ambitions to offer more bespoke accommodation in line with its ABC1 customer base, 68% of whom have stayed in four or five-star hotels before. Round added that excursions


and tours will be developed. “We are becoming more of a bona fide tour operator. We have always seen easyJet Holidays before as a source of ancillary revenue, now


it is a growth area.” EasyJet has concluded that Atol


protection is important in the UK market. Packages sold via Lowcostbeds had been protected via an insurance scheme, but Round said Atol protection had been chosen even though Hotelopia is based in Palma: “We did some research and 65% said they would trust a tour operator with an Atol bond. There’s no requirement for us to be Atol-bonded, but we believe consumers value the protection.” EasyJet Holidays will also sell via


dedicated sites in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands, giving a claimed audience of 100 million. The contract with Hotelopia runs to the end of the summer 2017 season.


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