Industry Report: One in five Londoners now more likely to use travel agents than before pandemic

Industry Report: One in five Londoners now more likely to use travel agents than before pandemic

Confusion around constantly changing COVID-related travel regulations is pushing holidaymakers in certain parts of the country towards travel agents who can advise them correctly, rather than risk getting it wrong with a DIY booking, reveals research released today (Monday 1 November) by WTM London.

Londoners are the most likely to turn to travel professionals, with more than one in five saying they will use an agent from now on, reveals the WTM Industry Report unveiled at WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, taking place over the next three days (Monday 1- Wednesday 3 November) at ExCeL – London.

When asked: Has the confusion around travel caused by the pandemic made you more likely to book future holidays through a travel agent? 22% of Londoners said they were ‘more likely’ to do so, closely followed by 18% in Scotland and Wales.

Meanwhile, 12% of respondents from Yorkshire and Humberside and 13% from the North East and South East (outside of London) said they’d be more likely to use a travel agent, reveals the report of 1,000 UK consumers.

Under 44s are more likely to book with an agent since the COVID crisis began, with 20% of 18-21s; 21% of 22-24s and 22% of 35-44s saying they would ask an agent.

This compares to 13% of 45-54s, 12% of 55-64s and 14% of over 65s who said they are now more likely to book with a travel agent since before the pandemic.

WTM London Exhibition Director Simon Press said: “The research results are good news for travel agents. WTM London has been saying for a long time that travel agents are here to stay.

“Travel agents have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic – working for months on end without pay, rebooking, refunding and reorganising people’s dream holidays.

“They’ve also had to keep on top of the constantly changing rules – not only which countries are, or were, on the green, amber or red list, but also whether those countries are actually open to UK visitors and whether they are on the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)’s list of ‘safe’ destinations.

“In addition, agents are having to keep up with the rules on COVID tests and entry requirements for individual countries. No wonder agents tell us all they are working harder than ever before.

“Many agents have also dealt with requests from people who didn’t book with them – who either booked direct with a company that they were later unable to get hold of when something went wrong, or did a DIY booking and became unstuck.

“The fact that people are understanding and appreciating agents’ worth is great to see.”




World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts. In 2020, WTM Virtual facilitated 20,000+ meetings and held 42 live content sessions over the 3-days show.

Next live event: Monday 1 to 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next WTM Virtual: Monday 8 to 9 November 2021 – Virtual

Travel Forward London is the leading travel technology event, co-located with WTM London. Travel Forward is renowned for showcasing the next-generation technologies for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Over 19,000 travel officials and 150+ innovative solution providers attend for 3 days of cutting-edge insights, open debate and unrivalled networking opportunities. The combination of a 2-day conference, interactive exhibition and start-up showcase makes Travel Forward truly unique.

Next live event: Monday 1 November to Wednesday 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next Travel Forward Virtual: Monday 8 November to Tuesday 9 November 2021 – Virtual

London Travel Week, brought to you by WTM London, is the one-stop-shop for event hosts and visitors to be able to shape the next 12 months of travel together. The festival of events supports the global travel and tourism industry through capturing invaluable news and enhancing industry connections.

Next event: Friday 29 October – Friday 5 November 2021

WTM Virtualis the WTM Portfolio virtual platform, created to offer global delegates the chance to arrange one-to-one virtual meetings, to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking and more. WTM Virtual embrace the global leading travel shows in one platform.

WTM Latin America takes place annually in São Paulo and attracts around 19,000 tourism professionals during a three-day event. The show offers qualified content, as well as networking and business opportunities. In its ninth edition – the first 100% virtual – WTM Latin America followed its focus on effective business generation and reached the milestone of 4,200 meetings held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors.

Next event: Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 April 2022 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 6,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 April 2022 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 29th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, with visitors from more than 140 countries over the four days. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #IdeasArriveHere

Next in-person event: Sunday 8 to Wednesday 11 May 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, Arival Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Forward. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country summits.

WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world-leading events, content and digital tools that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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