Long-haul travel drives January bookings, says operators

Long-haul travel drives January bookings, says operators

Tour operators and travel agents have seen a rise in bookings for long haul holidays, leading companies revealed yesterday. TUI, lastminute.com, Sunvil and Advantage generally expressed positive feedback from the busy January month at CIMTIG’s Question Time yesterday. “We are seeing a massive uplift over the royal wedding 11 days. Long haul destinations are flying and Kenya has seen a 200 percent increase this year,” said Mark Maddock, managing director UK and Ireland at lastminute.com. “Our forward bookings our showing real green shoots”. Julia Lo Bue Said, leisure director at Advantage Travel shared the optimism and said its members had seen a healthy number of enquiries. “There is definitely a lot of optimism but there are good promotions, as well as some top-end enquiries,” she added. “We’re still seeing the market dip on families but after the first pay cheque since Christmas, this weekend could be key. But without question, the feeling out there is of great optimism and enquiries turning into bookings.” However, Noel Josephides, managing director at Sunvil Holidays and AITO, said he did not anticipate the long-haul trend to continue. “Sunvil’s bookings are 5 percent up on last year [for January],” he explained. “It is early days because most of the growth has come from long-haul and you never know if it is just people booking early.” Moving on to short-haul European destinations, Josephides said that Britain’s thirst for a bargain had affected sales to the eurozone. “The eurozone is not doing well. Locally, cost of living in restaurants in Greece and Portugal has kept low because they’ve been affected by growth in Turkey and Egypt,” he explained. “Everyone wants a deal and that’s the thing that worries me. It’s not enough to just put a programme out, you have to think of a new angle and it’s exhausting.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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