High street agents warned over launch of Aldi

Travel Trust AssociationWorldchoice managing director Simon Hargreaves has warned the trade not to underestimate the entry of discount supermarket chain Aldi into the marketplace.

The supermarket’s launch into the travel sector earlier this month follows a similar operation in Austria, which has sold more than a million holidays since 2003.

Its online travel agency, operated by the On Holiday Group, made it into the top 20 travel agencies on Hitwise within days of launch.

Hargreaves, who oversees both the Travel Trust Association and Worldchoice travel agency consortia following their merger last October, described the decision by the German supermarket to offer holidays as a “classic recession move”.

He added that it mirrored successful attempts by other supermarket giants to move into traditionally unchartered territory such as insurance sales.

He said: “There will be people willing to give it a go. It may be small [in travel sales] now but I would not underestimate what it could do and the impact it could have.”

He added some traditional travel agent customers could be lured away by cheap deals offered at Aldi chains nationwide during the economic downturn.

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