'Destinations in crisis' fears fuel high street sales

'Destinations in crisis' fears fuel high street sales

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Concern about destinations in crisis is having an impact on the high street, latest industry data suggests.

Analyst GFK’s Leisure Travel Monitor to the end of June shows the high street had a “very strong month”, with a 12% rise in passenger numbers year-on-year.

“This is very likely to be down to the Tunisian cancellations and rebookings, as clients sought advice,” GFK reported.

Summer 2015 bookings last month were 11% up year-on-year – the largest monthly increase all season – as a result of bookings switched from Tunisia.

GFK reported 72,000 Tunisia cancellations to July 4, although it could not tell how many were rebooked.

Joan Jones, head of business development at Spear Travels, said the agency had a good June, mainly due to bookings for travel beyond this summer. “We’re trying to take people’s minds off what they read in the media,” she said.

“So we are focusing on destinations not affected by the headlines, and highlighting the positives.

“People are anxious but we are managing to reassure them. It’s almost like being a counsellor.”

GfK said bookings for the season to date would remain 1% up on last year once all Tunisia cancellations come through, and it expects the figure to rise once customers rebook.

It added: “We feel a number of destinations will have little availability for late bookers.”

The Global Travel Group reported Greece bookings up 40%. Managing director Andy Stark said: “Brits are savvy when it comes to a good deal and will travel regardless.”

Industry analyst ForwardKeys, which takes data from the major GDSs, revealed UK air bookings to Greece bounced back by 45% last week after falls of 40% and 26% in the previous two weeks.

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