Flights to Egypt and Tunisia may ‘resume soon’

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The boss of holiday firm Teletext Holidays has said that the market for travel agents is picking up as concerns over terror attacks in many once popular destinations begins to abate.

Wayne Perks, told The Yorkshire Post that he expected tour operators to resume packages to destinations like Tunisia and Egypt soon and that travel companies in many mainland Europe countries had already done so.

His comments come after a trying period for the holiday industry as it wrestled against the weakness of sterling and concern over attacks such as those seen in 2015 when a flight to Sharm El Sheikh was bombed killing 224 people and a terrorist ran amok at a Tunisia resort murdering 38 people.

Mr Perks said: “People had been quite nervous about travelling and obviously the impact on the value of sterling has meant that holidays have become a bit more expensive.

“But very quickly that has turned around and people are booking again.

“It is interesting to see that Thomas Cook are going to start flying to Tunisia again.

“That is very positive. The travel industry has really been impacted as you would expect by terrorism threats around the world.

“Egypt was one of our biggest winter destinations. But after the atrocities that dropped.

“Most other European countries are flying back into Egypt. We are hoping that soon UK travellers will be too.

“Brexit has been a challenge, terrorism is a challenge for everyone, but we are seeing some positives coming back into the market.”

Teletext Holidays is the shirt sponsor for Sheffield United FC this season and now operates as an online tourism agency after more than a decade of successful trading on television’s now outdated text service.

Mr Perks, who joined Teletext two years ago after 13 years at Virgin Holidays, said much of his role now involved rebuilding the Teletext brand.

“Teletext had a really strong brand when it was on television until it was sold by the Daily Mail Group,” he said.

“When it came off the television predictably the brand suffered.

“Most people booked holidays with us back in the 1980s and 1990s. We sell pretty much every hotel in the world.

“We were the first digital travel agent and so we are increasingly looking at what more we can do digitally. We launched a new app this year and we are developing our online capability.

“We have considerably improved our online capability in terms of a lot of our competitors. On a lot of online travel agents you don’t get a lot of information about the destination, Tour operators do this really well. What we are trying to do is get the benefit of a low cost model but also a good level of content for customers so they understand the destination.”

Mr Perks was interviewed for the position by the firm’s non-executive chairman after he met him by chance while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity.

“The pair began chatting during which time it was revealed a vacancy had arisen. Mr Perks described it dryly as ‘the strangest interview of my life’.”

He said the deal for sponsorship with Sheffield United was helping get the brand awareness out there again.

“I was keen to get the sponsorship deal aligned with Teletext Holidays so that we could build the brand.

“We felt there was a real synergy between what Sheffield United are doing and us.

“Following their promotion [Sheffield United won the League One title last season and are now playing in the Championship, the second tier of UK football] they are really getting themselves back on the map and Teletext Holidays are really trying to do the same thing.

“Both have a lot of history and heritage, both are strong on families and both are trying to rebuild their brand.”