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Industry analyst GfK confirmed a solid start to January, with summer 2016 bookings in the first full week of the year up 4% on a year ago.
The average selling price was almost 2% up, despite growth in short-haul bookings at the expense of mid-haul. By January 9, season-to-date bookings for the summer were up 7% year on year, with the average selling price flat.
GfK reported a 22% increase in season-to-date short-haul bookings and a 9% rise in long-haul, but a 3% decline in mid-haul, with bookings to Egypt down 41% year on year and no flights to Tunisia.
David Hope, GfK business group director, said: “Since Boxing Day, we’ve seen a 3% increase in package bookings versus last year, with summer 2016 taking the majority.”
Spain is again the big winner, with season-to-date bookings up 29% year on year. Portugal has enjoyed a 32% increase and Italy 15%, but bookings to Greece are flat and Turkey down 29%.
Sunvil and Abta chairman Noel Josephides said bookings to Greece were “much the same as last year, when we had a good start, so we’re happy”. He added: “We trimmed capacity and our margin has improved. The $1,000 question is whether we have a ‘normal’ year.”
Advantage Travel Partnership commercial head John Sullivan reported revenue through the Advantage Travel Gateway booking system in the past week up 38% on the comparable week last year, with bookings “mainly to the western Mediterranean”.
He said: “We’re seeing strong sales for the current winter and winter 2016-17. We’ve had anecdotal feedback of customers coming with ideas of where they want to go and wanting help to choose a destination.”
Tui and Thomas Cook declined to comment on the market ahead of planned trading updates, but a Cook spokeswoman said: “Spain, in particular Tenerife, and Greece are our most-searched destinations for summer since the key booking period began.”
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