Eurozone holiday price rises of more than 10% would have a marked impact on next summer’s trading, experts warned at The Co-operative Travel Consortium conference.
Despite general optimism for 2017, panellists at The Midcounties Co-operative Travel event in Portugal last week admitted there were fears consumers could postpone holidays if prices rise too high.
Steve Campion, managing director of agency Travelbubble and price comparison site Holiday Discount Centre, said prices were currently up 5%-10%.
He said: “Holidaymakers are resilient but if sterling does lose a lot of value against the euro and there are increases in excess of 10%, there will be reduced volumes of travellers.”
Monarch Travel Group head of trade sales Simon Garrido added: “If costs rise that’s got to be paid for out of margin or passed on to the customer. A lot of business is hedged, but that will inevitably come to an end.”
Stephen Eccles, commercial analyst at Midcounties, said: “The bigger worry is aviation fuel going up. This is a double whammy that will feed through.”
Campion and Eccles both saw potential for Turkey to recover. According to GfK figures, Turkey is trading 32% down for summer 2017, although the Co-op consortium’s sales are 2% up.
Campion added: “Turkey could return if it can stay terrorist-free. If you have hotels in the Med putting up their prices, there is a danger they will lose share.”
Paula Nuttall, Vertical Travel Group membership director, urged agents to be more proactive.
She said: “We are putting bespoke products together around experiences instead of waiting for clients to come to us.”
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