Agents reported strong sales in January, despite industry figures showing the overall market is down year on year.
Industry analyst GfK Ascent reports summer 2012 bookings 8% down year on year for the season to date – in line with capacity cuts at Tui and Thomas Cook – with package sales slightly better at 7% down.
Bookings for the month to January 28 were 15% down on a year ago, but the shortfall was 11% last week, GfK told Travel Weekly. This is against strong sales in January 2011 when bookings initially surged 18% on 2010.
Retailers reported better figures. Travel Counsellors enjoyed two of its best-ever days this month, with sales peaking on January 13 – up 9% on the previous record last January – and January 20. The company also reported significant late winter sales.
Barrhead Travel reported passenger numbers up 29% for January – the reward for opening five new shops last year, according to chairman Bill Munro. Online agency Holidaysplease said January sales were 30% up year-on-year, with the average value up 22%.
Premier Holidays reported sales up 16% year on year. Managing director Susan Papworth said: "We are way up on high-value business."
Derek Moore, chairman of Aito, said: "The luxury end is thriving; the squeezed middle is holding back."
Advantage chief executive John McEwan said: "Specialist operators have done well. We’re probably 3%-4% down, but up 7% on price year on year. We were anticipating the market could end 10% down."
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