Summer holiday sales recover after spring lull

Summer holiday sales recover after spring lull

The 2011 summer holiday market has recovered from a sharp decline in March and April and is back on a par with last year, according to the latest industry figures.

Industry analyst GfK Ascent reports sales in the week to May 21 up across all sectors for the first time this season – with short-haul up 12% on the comparable week in 2010, medium haul up 4% and long-haul up 2%.

Season-to-date trading to May 21 was up 10% for short-haul, 2% for mid-haul and down 10% for long-haul – leaving total sales flat year on year after being down since March.

The average sales price was £19 up on the same time last year, although this masks an average rise in long-haul price of £81.

The big winner in the week to May 21 was Greece, which supplanted the Spanish islands as the biggest UK seller for the first time this year. Spain remains number one for sales for the season.

The top-five destinations, in order of volume, are:

  1. The Balearics
  2. The Canary Islands
  3. Greece
  4. Mainland Spain
  5. Italy

Figures from Experian Hitwise also showed Greece and Spain making a comeback on search volume.

The losers to date have been Turkey, Egypt, the Caribbean, Tunisia and the US.

Flight-only sales are down 13% and accommodation down 5%. GfK Ascent managing director Sarah Smalley said: “People are still booking, but they are going for the security of a package.”

Smalley reported a strong start to summer 2012 sales, with almost 20,000 more packages sold in the first weeks of the season than a year ago.


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