Companies have reported mixed signals on the state of the travel market so far this year.
Travel Counsellors says it has recorded a 17% year-on-year rise in UK sales in January to date and worldwide sales up 25% on last year. Its sales on January 9 were worth more than £1.5 million, putting the day in the top-20 busiest in the company’ history.
Travel Counsellors managing director Steve Byrne said it was too early to identify what factors were contributing to the performance. He said: “We will have a much better idea by the end of this week and next. These two weeks were our best for sales last year.”
Byrne said the early sales spike was better than anticipated. “We expected sales to kick in later so we are really pleased and positive about the year ahead.” However, he added: “We have had a good start, but it’s too early to draw conclusions.”
Sales at Midcounties Co-operative Travel hit a 20-year high last weekend, with group general manager Alistair Rowland attributing the performance to customers’ trust in the brand.
Rowland said: “There has been significant negative publicity around the financial security of some of our competitors which is clearly working to our advantage.”
Other industry figures agreed it was too early to assess the market. Advantage chief executive John McEwan, chairman of Abta, said: “It’s still early days. The weekend was reasonably strong. The market has been more positive than anticipated – with a lot of consumer interest. Whether that translates into bookings we have to wait and see.”
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