The spread of the Omicron variant and the consequent tightening of the rules for travel have led to new inconveniences for Italian tourists, but they have not stopped their desire to leave, albeit with greater caution and relying on professionals in the sector who can guarantee timely assistance before and during the trip. To take stock of the situation is CartOrange, the largest Italian company of travel consultants with over 450 employees in Italy: “The market is obviously still far from pre-pandemic levels: compared to the Christmas period of 2019 , the drop in sales volumes is 70% and the average expenditure per passenger has contracted by 26% – explains Marco Ferrini, sales manager of CartOrange -. However, the signs of recovery that had been highlighted before the new pandemic wave all things considered have not been reset by the arrival of the Omicron variant. Beyond the cancellations due to countries where it is no longer possible to travel, such as Jordan since the beginning of December, and the cases of those who could not leave for health reasons, in general those who had booked a vacation decided to leave, despite the concerns and inconveniences. And, on their return, they confirmed their satisfaction with the experience”.
This is what emerges from the feedback collected by CartOrange among its collaborators, questioned on the performance of their business on the occasion of the first winter departures, those of the holiday period.
CartOrange travel consultants point to an increase in travelers’ pre-departure anxieties, due above all to difficulties in organizing buffers. Similarly, in destination the greatest inconveniences have been linked to problems in finding the necessary buffers to return to Italy. In all this, what made the difference was the ability of consultants to provide continuous and timely assistance. “It has been confirmed that the figure of the travel consultant has become an indispensable point of reference – comments Ferrini – especially at a time when regulations are changing rapidly and it is impossible for a non-expert to find his way around the rules of the various countries; furthermore, it is also essential to advise and choose, together with the client, the most inclusive insurance formula that is suited to the needs of the moment. Clients understand that only by relying on professionals is it possible to take a vacation in serenity and safety, and we expect this situation to continue in 2022“. Finally, Ferrini concludes, “to travel in the tourist corridors, it is necessary to be equipped with a Travel Pass, which only a professional in the sector can provide”.
So, during the Christmas vacations, those who did not have any particular impediments traveled, and with satisfaction, even abroad, despite the increased rules to be followed. European (and especially northern European) destinations did well, as did the USA (15% of bookings), which has been in great demand since its reopening on 8 November, and where itinerant and combined trips were also organized, not just weekend breaks. And then the destinations included in the tourist corridors, including the Maldives (32% of bookings), Dubai and the Arab Emirates (14%), the Dominican Republic (6%) and Mauritius (5%).
“This is the proof that, as already underlined by the sector associations, the tourist corridors work – Ferrini points out -. The very low number of positive cases recorded for trips made through operators who comply with all the regulations contained in the protocols confirm that moving around safely is possible. The fundamental thing is to avoid DIY and rely on those who guarantee to be able to manage all problematic situations”.
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