Economy fails to dampen holiday plans but agents report mixed trading

Economy fails to dampen holiday plans but agents report mixed trading

The economic gloom is failing to dampen the plans of holidaymakers, a new survey from research company TNS Travel and Tourism reveals.

The poll of 2,047 people was conducted between January 2 and 6 on behalf of Travel Weekly and revealed two-thirds of people are still planning on taking a holiday. Of those, 34% said they will take a domestic break and 31% are planning on taking a holiday of seven nights or more.

The results are broadly in line with January 2008 figures.

TNS head of Travel and Tourism Tom Costley said: "At this stage of the holiday planning period, there appears to be a strong desire to continue along a similar path to 2008."

However, despite these positive views, agents are reporting mixed results three weeks into the peak booking period.

Kinver Travel owner Sue Foxall said January has ­continued to see a decrease in footfall although her revenues have remained flat compared with last year as the value of bookings has risen.

She said this is due to an ongoing increase in face-to-face bookings thanks to TV programmes such as last week's Holiday Horrors Unpackaged on ITV, which highlighted the problems some consumers experience when booking online.

She added: "It was quite a good advert for travel agents and I couldn't have written it better myself."

Bailey's Travel managing director Chris Bailey said of his three shops, one is 2% down since the start of the year, one has seen sales drop 24%, while the third is down 46%.

However, he said the hardest thing to deal with is the uncertainty, adding: "In all the years I've been doing this, this is the first year where I don't have a sense of what to expect and that should be worrying."

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