Summer sales up 5% despite March downturn

Summer sales up 5% despite March downturn

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A dip in holiday bookings last month has not dented the positive outlook for this summer, with season-to-date bookings 5% up year on year.

March bookings for summer 2016 were down 4% on last year, according to analyst GfK, following a surge in February which saw bookings up 8% on February 2015. The early Easter on the last weekend in March was one factor.

GfK also attributed the shortfall to consumers booking earlier and to “concerns heightened by March’s terrorist activity” – the attacks in Brussels.

Research for Travel Weekly confirmed the increased impact of terrorism, with a TNS study finding more than one in three consumers planning a holiday identified terrorism as a major concern and more than half said they would change destination or cancel a holiday in the event of an incident in their destination.

More than half said safety concerns put them off travelling to Turkey, with 55% “less likely” to visit the country than a year ago following a spate of bomb attacks in Istanbul, Ankara and the east of the country.

Tui has reported bookings to Turkey to be at least 40% down and Thomas Cook has reduced Turkey capacity by about 30%.

But Thomas Cook is now running a campaign with the Turkish Culture and Information Office to promote “great-value” all‑inclusive holidays in the country.

A Cook spokeswoman said: “We still have over 750,000 holidaymakers flying to Turkey this summer. Turkey is still popular but many customers have been thinking carefully about whether to go this year. We’ve got some great deals on offer and are promoting these in conjunction with the tourist board.”

GfK reported overall revenue from summer 2016 bookings remained 5% up on 2015 at the end of March.


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