When the pandemic hit in 2019, the travel industry was one of the first to collapse and many travel sectors have suffered the consequences. From airlines, to hospitality, to travel agencies, they all felt the real consequences of the pandemic.
What seemed like a pretty hopeful future for traveling, Omicron hit the UK just before Christmas and we watched nations shut their borders again and travel-goers cancel their plans.
For travel agents and businesses, this has not been an easy few months and they have had to face cancellations, rebooking’s and refunds; however, one local Bournemouth travel operator remains hopeful despite the circumstances.
Adam Playfair is the Managing Director of Richmond Holidays, a local travel operator located in Charminster, who remains optimistic about the situation and says they will stay poised and ready to deliver the best holidays they can, despite a re-emergence of travel restrictions.
Richmond Holidays is a Christian centred travel operator who provide life-changing and memorable holidays for their guests.
One of their most popular travel destinations are to the ski chalets in France and had a huge surge in bookings for the festive season, however, when France announced their boarders were shutting just a week before Christmas, the whole season wiped out within a matter of days.
Since March 2020, the company lost 100% of their income but were able to remain functioning thanks to government grants and support.
“The reality is, without the governments support, loans, furloughs and grants there is no way a travel company could have survived during the pandemic,” said Adam.
“While, once again, we have lost our income after Christmas and the lead up to the ski season, both ourselves and our guests remain optimistic about the future and hope to re-start on the 22nd of January.”
Both ourselves and our guests remain optimistic about the future and hope to re-start on the 22nd of January.
While the spike in Omicron has hindered us from returning back to normal, one thing Adam says the travel industry can be thankful for, is that the fear around the pandemic is not as strong.
“Now this time around, the fear of the first wave is pretty much gone as many of us have had it. Now it’s more the fear of people losing their money due to COVID which we are able to alleviate if that happens”, says Adam.
He added: “The population is much better protected, more people know about the illness and the impact is lessening. In the UK we have removed many restrictions around traveling so we are anticipating the same from France imminently.”
Speaking about the major rise in flight cancellations at Heathrow airport, and concerns that it will be years until the travel industry returns to normal, Richmond Holidays are looking at introducing UK holidays to meet the demand in staycations.
“There are a significant number of the population, and large numbers of the older population, who want a refund, think that they wont travel again or feel that travel is just too stressful now,” says Adam.
However, as an international holiday destination they have stayed loyal to their guests and maintained operational as an investment into the future of the company.
“We are going to be providing holidays. That’s what we’re about. That’s what we love doing. That’s what I love doing. So, let’s do what we were good at and make this happen for this summer.”
We are going to be providing holidays. That’s what we’re about. That’s what we love doing. That’s what I love doing.
In terms of remaining positive, Adam believes they have a great sense of optimism that many others don’t have and hence, those others haven’t been able to make it through the pandemic.
“We are such a tight knit community. We have a meeting every morning where we pray and support one another and chat about our worries,” says Adam. “We try to remain very forward-looking and I make sure that there is a positive and optimistic environment.”