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NEWS


ccelerate the travel sector’s revival. Watch them at go.travelweekly.co.uk/webcasts CELEBRITY’S LISA LUTOFF-PERLO


TRAVEL AGENCY BOSSES


Tony Mann


Joanne Dooey, Love to Travel


Lisa Lutoff-Perlo


‘Cruising will ultimately be the safest vacation’


C


elebrity Cruises will focus on Generation X holidaymakers – not millennials – following


the Covid-19 pandemic. Research carried out for the line


during lockdown found that the 40-55 age group – between baby-boomers and millennials – were a prime target, and not just because of the pandemic. President and chief executive


Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said: “We’ve really taken this time out as an opportunity to reflect on our brand and the place it has in the travel industry and the vacation market, and how we strengthen that even further.” She said the research showed


“it’s not the millennials” that the line should target to strengthen its brand, adding: “It’s really the Gen X-ers who are our target. You’re going to see us doing a lot more in that space.” Lutoff-Perlo said she was “already


making plans” to bring Celebrity Apex back to the UK, after the launch of the new ship, planned to take place in Southampton at the end of March, followed by a mini-ex-UK season, was cancelled due to the pandemic.


travelweekly.co.uk “It just wasn’t meant to be,” she


said, adding: “Apex will definitely be back into the UK and we can’t wait to celebrate with all of you.” Speaking about the wider impact of


Covid-19 on cruise, Lutoff-Perlo said sentiment around the new-to-cruise market had “turned pretty negative” but that cruising would “ultimately be the safest vacation” in the world. “Ever since the pandemic started,


we have been gauging and doing consumer research, and clearly, new- to-cruise has been impacted,” she said. “We’ll focus on that and we’ll continue to work hard to convert those people who are probably sceptical about cruising right now.” Lutoff-Perlo said the UK Foreign


Office’s advice against ocean cruise travel was “not surprising” although she was “a little disappointed” by the news, which was followed by the US extending its ban on cruises until at least October 1. She said the advisories were


“indicative of the uncertainty right now” and said she expected the UK to follow the US in terms of when its cruise sector returns.


Lisa Lutoff-Perlo


Richard Dixon


‘Bookings almost stopped when safe lists came out’


P


ublication of the government’s list of destinations to which Brits could travel


without having to quarantine on their return “put the brakes on bookings”, according to agents. Travel agency bosses blamed


“confusing” messages for putting customers off booking holidays. Richard Dixon, director of


Holidaysplease, said: “We had an incredible last few days of June and first few days of July. Then all the messages started coming out about corridors opening up and it was so confusing that I think it did put the brakes on the market a little bit.” Tony Mann, managing director


of Idle Travel in Bradford, agreed. “Probably for six weeks now,


we’ve been doing fairly strong sales, week by week,” he said. “And we were so excited for the news of the list and the air bridges. But, actually, business nearly stopped completely when it came out. It was weird.” Mann blamed the slump on two factors: that “it got so complex” in


We’re now at 90%


of where we need to be, but last week we only did 20% of our target


terms of what people needed to do to prepare, and that Bradford was touted as an area that could be put into a localised lockdown. Dixon added: “It was confusing for us, our homeworkers and our customers. It was like, ‘Can we go? Can’t we go? What do you have to do when you’re there?” He said there had been a “mad


scramble” at head office to ensure the agency’s homeworkers had the right information. But both Dixon and Mann said


business had picked up in the last week. Mann said: “We’re never going to catch up for the rest of the year. But if I look at the previous week for last year, we’re actually at 90% of where we need to be, whereas last week we only did 20% of what our target would have been.”


23 JULY 2020


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