Panache Cruises boss warns 2024 will be ‘another tough year’ for travel

The founder and chief executive of Panache Cruises has warned 2024 will be “another tough year for the travel industry”, but said he is “cautiously optimistic” the luxury sector will be buoyant.

James Cole praised the industry’s historic “innovation and resilience” in the face of hurdles, saying “there’s always some obstacle” proving challenging for agents and operators, such as geopolitical conflict or natural disasters.

He encouraged the trade to continue innovating as “2024 will be another year with obstacles”.

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“I predict 2024 will be another tough year for the travel industry,” said Cole.

“There’s still a lot going on in the world at large, with wars breaking out, the cost-of-living crisis and stubbornly high inflation – it’s a very difficult time for the UK consumer.

“However, we’re cautiously optimistic our customers are still exceptionally keen to travel. They have got some cash and want to catch up on some missed travelling time during the pandemic.

“From our point of view, in our niche part of the cruise industry in the luxury and ultra-luxury space, we think it will be a good year for Panache Cruises and our sector of the market, but overall a tough year for travel.”

Cole’s warning comes as the agency, which was founded in 2020, opens its new office in Chorley following a £1 million investment.

Three separate offices have been converted into one office to provide enough space for Panache Cruises’ staff, which now stands at 52 members up from 15 in August 2021.

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