'Sky high' lates prices fuel rise in domestic sales

'Sky high' lates prices fuel rise in domestic sales

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The lack of affordable overseas stock left for this summer is boosting UK and city-break bookings, as well as driving early sales for next summer.

The shooting of 38 tourists in Tunisia in June resulted in large‑scale capacity cuts by vertically integrated operators.

Midcounties Co-operative Travel general manager Alistair Rowland said this had led to a dearth of affordable overseas breaks in the lates market. The group’s summer bookings for the past two weeks are 6% down year on year, but summer 2016 sales are 10% ahead.

“Only about half the flights [to Tunisia] were replaced so there is a lack of stock [in the whole market], sending prices sky‑high,” said Rowland.

“For lots of people, summer 2015 is now unaffordable. It’s why UK breaks are doing well.”

Midcounties has switched marketing funds set aside for this summer to summer 2016.

Advantage Travel Partnership head of commercial John Sullivan said the Tunisia attack had led to “few options” of similarly priced holidays in the market.

Domestic operators reported a bookings surge in the run-up to the August bank holiday weekend.

Hoseasons’ parks and lodges business was up 19% last week and boating breaks were 29% ahead. Its call centre enjoyed its busiest day of the year on Monday.

Managing director Simon Altham said: “Trading has been strong for the UK this year. It’s not a new phenomenon, but what’s interesting is this real surge in demand for this weekend. Families have held off till quite late.”

Altham attributed the surge to a combination of factors, including worries about migrant protests and long traffic queues at Calais.

SuperBreak national sales manager Graham Balmforth said provincial destinations had enjoyed double-digit growth in the past week. “There is less choice in terms of capacity [overseas].

“The bank holiday is also late this summer, so it’s allowed people to take a second break."

Shearings said it had “very little” stock for this bank holiday weekend, which it attributed to strong early sales.


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