Travel industry takes on the cyber trolls

Travel.Radio is backing a ‘Beat the Bullies’ campaign following a sustained attack by online trolls who are targetting  travel agents across the country.

The digital radio station for the travel industry and people who love travelling, has itself been the victim of online abuse with a prolonged and personal social media and email campaign aimed at the station and some of its presenters.

Now Travel.Radio has joined the travel industry ‘taskforce’ to share online bullying experiences and work with the Police to record the incidents.

Once the culprits are caught and charged, the radio station has pledged to name and shame them and is calling on industry partners to implement a life-long travel ban on anyone found guilty of cyber bullying.

The extent of the online abuse first came to light when Jacqui Bowring, owner of Buckley Travel in North Wales, talked about it on the industry’s on-line Travel Gossip forum.

After hearing about the abuse she had received from an anti-vaxxer, fellow travel agents rallied round and began telling stories about their own experiences.

Richard Dobinson, of Arrive Relax Travel in Southend and LGBTQ brand Holiday with Pride, received countless anti-vax and homophobic threats and messages, sometimes as many as 19 a day.

Travel.Radio has received similar vile comments and presenters have been individually targetted on their social media pages.

Debbie Henley, CEO of Travel.Radio, said: “Each time it happens we block the accounts but they spring up again with a new name and a new account, hiding behind their anonymity . Most times when they post the account has just been set up that day and they have zero followers.

“But even more worrying are the false and damaging claims they make to our partners and advertisers via email. They are completely groundless and contentious allegations, clearly designed to cause as much commercial damage as possible.  It’s beyond me why people are so spiteful and spineless when everyone is just trying to go to work and help global travel recover after the pandemic”.

Jacqui is working closely with the Police to bring her abuser to justice. She said: “The travel trade community has been fantastic, we have come together in a WhatsApp group to share our stories in an attempt to finally close the bullies down and stop them damaging our businesses.”

Richard feels the past few months of relentless online bullying has had a long-term effect on his mental health and is calling for the social media giants to step up.

“They are taking racial abuse seriously now and it’s time to look at cyber bullying in general. These trolls are just keyboard warriors who inflict serious mental and commercial  harm yet they are still able to post on public platforms. We as a travel industry need to take action, work with the relevant authorities and media channels and finally bring them to justice.”

Debbie added: “We are urging everyone to just collate as much evidence as they can so we can present a united front to the social media sites. We’d like to see all the big travel providers implement a lifelong ban on those found guilty of targetting anyone in the travel industry.”

If you are in the travel industry and are the victim of online abuse please contact us to join the conversation. Email us at: trollingsupport@travel.radio

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