More than 25% of bookings made through high-street travel agents this January have been for all-inclusive holidays, according to new official industry statistics.
Ascent-MI's Leisure Travel Monitor's figures for weekly bookings up to and including January 24 confirm a continued substantial trend for all-inclusive holidays as consumers try to budget during the recession.
Significantly, the statistics also show one in four holidays sold online, on the phone and through the high street are for all-inclusive breaks.
The data covers all sales through Thomas Cook, TUI Travel, lastminute.com and more than 50% of ABTA-registered travel agents.
But worryingly for traditional travel agents, bookings made online or over the telephone this month have in some cases been more than £100 cheaper than holidays sold through high-street retailers.
Although average prices in January are fractionally up year on year - except for self-catering breaks which have fallen - where prices have dropped at the highest rate is through online and phone channels.
With sales across the industry widely believed to be down by double digits, price drops indicate an attempt by certain operators to stimulate sales by discounting as they struggle to survive in the tough climate.
In general, prices have been held up by a reduction in capacity by major operators, while the high number of all-inclusive holidays sold, which have higher average sales prices, are likely to have helped to maintain pricing levels.
LTM figures show there is year-on-year growth in sales of holidays priced between £1,000 and £1,599.
Ascent-MI chief executive Sarah Smalley said: "This illustrates that consumers have not been trading down across the board and it is not just price that is driving bookings"
Meanwhile, destinations that have enjoyed the highest sales up to and including January 24 are Turkey, 52% up on the previous four weeks, Egypt is 20% up, and Kenya, which is 712% up on a very low base.
The full LTM report on January figures will be available to subscribers in mid-February.
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