In addition to a global pandemic, the travel and tourism industry, as is the whole of the UK economy, is also experiencing a recession.
“O Wild West Wind, thou first breath of Autumn’s being,” wrote the great English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in his monumental “Ode to the West Wind,” in which he speaks of the both the silent and thunderous power of the season of Autumn, and asks in abject mercy at the end of his great work, “O Wind, if Winter comes can spring be far behind?”
Like every other sector of the travel and tourism industry in the United Kingdom, tour operators have taken a bloody beating in the numbers that tell their story since the coronavirus-driven global pandemic that has sapped all energy from the industry since it made its presence known about the beginning of last April—coincidentally, this is when operators seek to get their Air Travel Organizer License (ATOL) for the number of passenger for the coming year. It is a floating figure, adjusted every six months.
Earlier in October, In the latest six-month deadline for seeking ATOL authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the statistical impact of the pandemic is reflected in the numbers comprising the tables below.
Of the Top 20 ATOL license holders/operators, none sought authorization to carry more passengers than they sought six months ago. In fact, all but two (On the Beach Travel and We Love Holidays, which sought authorization for the same number of passengers) tell us, through their authorization requests, they sought authorization for fewer passengers.
In fact, calculated Travel Weekly UK, The UK’s ten largest ATOL holders have collectively reduced the number of passengers they are licensed to carry by more than five million. I the tables below, INBOUND lists the Top 20 ATOL holders for both Spring and Autumn 2020. Travel Weekly UK also reported that less than 1,000 of the 1,261 ATOL licenses that expired on September 30 have been renewed during a period of “huge pressure” on the travel sector, the Civil Aviation Authority said last week. The CAA also indicated that, at the time, 995 had been renewed in the September round with a further 90 still in the process as of October 1.
Can Spring be far behind?