Travel firms to target organic growth in 2012

THE UK travel industry expects no further growth for this year but has so far shied away from mergers as a way to weather the rocky market.

Over half of travel agencies, airlines and cruise companies expect to see no growth in passenger numbers this year, claims research by Barclays Corporate today, while a further 36 per cent predicted a contraction in 2011.

Travel firms including TUI Travel and Thomas Cook have said unrest in the Middle East, rising fuel costs and an uncertain outlook for consumers have all dented profits this year.

Companies said they plan to target organic growth this year, with acquisitions identified as the least likely route for the travel sector over the next 12 months.

However, more than 40 per cent of those surveyed expect to see a rise in passenger numbers in 2012.

“We are facing the most challenging conditions in decades, but in just 12 months time there are significant expectations of growth,” said Chris Lee, head of travel at Barclays Corporate.

The survey found over half of the firms will be more confident in growing sales next year with only 26 per cent expecting to be more cautious.