British travel agents are in high spirits and feeling positive about the past year’s travel business, according to a new survey from Carnival Cruise Lines.
The nationwide poll found that 82% of agents felt positive about trade during 2012 – compared to 70% when the last study was carried out in May.
When asked how positive they felt about last year’s summer season, the majority of respondents rated their mood as more than six out of ten, with no agents feeling very negative.
The findings are from the line's second Travel Agent Mood Index – a bi-annual poll that aims to gauge the level of optimism in the UK travel trade.
The survey also revealed that three quarters of British agents (75%) hit their sales targets during quarters two and three last year, more than predicted in May, when only half felt confident about reaching their goals. And despite the number of challenges faced by the travel industry last year, travel agents are feeling upbeat about the year ahead.
The survey showed that in terms of forward bookings, nearly 60% of agents said the outlook for selling holidays in 2013 was good or very strong.
According to the survey, agents were most confident about booking all-inclusive holidays, followed by cruise holidays. Figures from November’s WTM suggest that cruising is becoming increasingly popular. Recent figures showed that 1.72million Britons took an ocean cruise last year and that this will rise by more than 2% this year to 1.76million. UK figures show that the cruise sector has outperformed the rest of the holiday sector.
Adolfo Perez, the line's managing director, said: “In light of the many pressures they have faced in 2012, it’s encouraging that travel agents are feeling positive about this year. Of course, we’re also pleased that cruising is still fairly buoyant and bringing in business for the trade in the UK. At Carnival we’re feeling especially confident about 2013, as we start to expand our fleet into Europe this year.”