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GLOBE AWARDS 2016: “We’re over the moon and really happy that agents have voted for us again” Paul Melinis, page 15

Industry mourns death of Beaver boss Widdowson

Jennifer Morris


Tributes have poured in for a “terrific and passionate” travel agency boss who died after a car crash.

Ian Widdowson, 59, died on January 11 after a car in which he was a passenger crashed on New Year’s Day and burst into flames. The 24-year-old driver of the

other car died at the scene, near Kinloss, in northern Scotland. Widdowson and his wife Fiona

took over Beaver Travel, which has agencies in Forres and Elgin in Scotland, in 1999. He was a long-standing and active member of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA). Advantage Travel Partnership managing director Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “Ian was an active member of the group and a friend to many. He held a passion for the industry he had devoted so much time to and I was so pleased that I got to spend time with him, his team and wife Fiona. He will be deeply missed.”

EasyJet adverts rile agents by implying they are a ‘rip-off’

Agents have criticised “offensive” radio adverts from easyJet Holidays which “imply travel agents are a rip-off”. EasyJet’s “posh holidays without the posh prices” campaign features a fictional luxury travel agency boss, Frederick F Farquhar, who becomes frustrated by easyJet Holidays’ lower prices. The concept aims to change

MOURNED: Ian Widdowson, pictured with Julia Lo Bue-Said

Graham Balmforth, SuperBreak national sales manager, said: “Ian was a terrific guy. I was chairman of Tipto when he won the proprietor of the year award in 2009 [at the Agent Achievement Awards] and his proactive approach and innovation was clear to see. He would travel far to network and swap good practice.” Andy Freeth, managing director B2B UK at dnata, described

perceptions of the brand’s three to five-star package holidays. The adverts suggest customers

would need to “pawn the family silver” to afford a Farquhar holiday. Niall Douglas, managing director

of Full Circle Travel, said: “I find the stereotyping of the luxury agency boss somewhat offensive.” Amanda Matthews, managing

director of Designer Travel, said: “EasyJet implies that agents are a rip-off. If only it were true that agents are making a phenomenal profit. With an agent, you get competitive prices and someone to point you in the right direction.”

8 21 January 2016 MATTHEWS: ‘Competitive prices’ An easyJet spokesman said

the advert was designed to be a “lighthearted way of promoting the holidays it offers using a fun

fictional character”. › Talk Back, page 25

“Ian had a passion for the travel industry and devoted so much time to it”

Widdowson as a “lovely chap” who was always “happy and positive”. SPAA president Alan Glen said the association was “saddened and taken aback”, describing Widdowson as well-respected. His son Edward said the family

had been “hugely touched” by messages of support, adding: “Dad affectionately called his staff ‘beavers’ and they have been absolutely amazing.” He said the business would continue to run as a family-owned agency. The loss of Widdowson, who

also leaves behind sons Angus and John and a grandson, Toby, was noted at Travel Weekly’s Globe Travel Awards on Thursday. A service of thanksgiving will be

held at 1pm on Friday, January 22, at the St Laurence parish church in Forres.


Monarch loses court case over lightning strike payout

A lightning strike does not excuse an airline from compensating passengers for a delay under EC rules, according to a Reading County Court ruling against Monarch Airlines last week. The judge allowed that the lightning was “unexpected”, but ruled it did not constitute “an exceptional circumstance”.

BA parent signs deal with Latam of South America

IAG, parent group of British Airways and Iberia, has signed a deal with Latam Airlines to cooperate on routes to the EU, subject to approval. The deal will raise the number of destinations IAG offers in South America.

Sandals updates TV ad to include agent call to action

Sandals updated its 2016 TV advert after leaving out an agent call to action through “human error”. It amended the advert within days.

Holiday booking sites fail to deliver, say consumers

Holiday booking sites are not delivering what consumers want, according to research by technology firm Atcore. Fewer than half of the last booking sites visited by 1,500 holidaymakers delivered on the most important factors, such as best price, selection and ease of use.

Correction: misattributed quote in last week’s issue

A mistake in last week’s Travel Weekly led to a quote being misattributed to Abta chairman Noel Josephides. In the story headlined ‘Pressure mounts on “safe” regions’, the quote, “I suspect Turkey specialists will be watching sales this week to see whether they fall off a cliff”, should have been attributed to industry consultant Andy Cooper. We apologise to all.

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