Bargain DIY deals boost Sharm

Bargain DIY deals boost Sharm

A dynamic packaging travel agency is reporting a bounce-back in bookings to the Red Sea thanks to cut-price deals being offered by hoteliers and low-cost airlines.

A1 Travel said short-term hotel discounts of more than 60% combined with return flights to Sharm el-Sheikh as low as £146 in early December were driving the current rise in sales to the destination in the dynamic packaging sector.

Low-cost flights to the Red Sea would have cost more than £270 the same time last year, the company said.

Nick Lima, head of ecommerce and marketing, said: "We have noticed sales coming back in the last three to four weeks. You can go to Sharm for £299 for a week in early December. When people see a bargain they can't resist."

Hotels are offering deals on an all-inclusive basis for the same price as half board normally costs, representing significant savings for holidaymakers, he said.

Most deals are short-term but Lima was confident the savings would continue after Christmas, the traditionally busy period for UK holidaymakers.

Homeworker Laura Featonby agreed the competitive hotel deals were helping to convert some customers, particularly when compared with other destinations such as the Canaries.

"There's a massive difference in some cases between package prices and dynamic packages and compared to prices of other destinations," she added.

However, recent statistics from price comparison site Holiday Discount Centre show interest in Egypt continues to be down on last year.

Amost 5% of 476,000 online searches of more than 30 advertisers on the site between October 21 and 27 were for Egypt, down from 7.5% of searches during the same week last year.

Other winter sun destinations enjoyed far higher search volumes during the same week. More than 99,000 searches, over 20% of the total, were for the Canaries.

Managing director Steve Campion said the turmoil in the destination had clearly had an impact on demand but added: "If search volumes are down this much, hotels may continue to stimulate demand."

Industry analyst GfK reported bookings to Egypt for the eight weeks to August 25 were 24% down as a result of the unrest and demonstrations which started in early June and resulted in hundreds of deaths.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to advise against travel to most of the destination except for Red Sea resorts. As a result major operators cut capacity to the destination.

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