High street agents enjoyed a strong February with summer bookings up 2% on a year ago, according to industry analyst GfK.
Total bookings in the month were flat year on year, but revenue was up 8% on February 2012 or an average £52 a passenger.
Sales of package holidays, family holidays and all-inclusives boomed.
Family bookings rose 6% year on year, package holidays were up 8% and all-inclusive bookings 14% higher than a year ago.
The shortfall was in adult bookings, down 3% on February 2012. However, the decline was for short durations, with demand for seven and 14-night holidays holding up. By contrast, GfK identified a shift to shorter holidays among families, with a 22% increase in sales of ‘six nights or fewer’ despite the rise in average price.
Cruise was the one weak sector, down 21% year on year for summer bookings – an especially sharp decline given the Costa Concordia disaster was a year ago.
Total season-to-date bookings for summer 2013 remain 1% down, with revenue 2% up, according to GfK.
Bookings for the winter season about to end were 7% down year on year in February and 8% down overall – broadly in line with capacity – but with revenue better at -4% on 2011-12.
GfK managing director Sarah Smalley said: “The deep capacity cuts will help re-base the market so we should see less steep declines in future.”
Tunisia and Egypt were among the fastest-growing summer destinations in February, along with Minorca, Tenerife and Croatia.
Mexico was the leading growth destination for winter – up 8% for the season to the end of February, on top of 20% growth last year, despite an average selling price of £1,457.
GfK reported bookings for winter 2013-14 up 4% in February, with Smalley suggesting: “This shows both an underlying level of demand and the desire to book early.” However, bookings remain 4% down for the season to date.
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