Perhaps the best indicator of how confident we are about taking holidays comes from the recently released half yearly figures from TUI (owners of Thomson, First Choice, Falcon, Crystal, Citalia, JWT, LateRooms.com and Austravel amongst other brands) and Thomas Cook (who own Airtours, Direct Holidays, Neilson, Club 18-30, Sunset and other brands.) Between them, these two move about 9 million holidaymakers per year so what they report is a pretty good guide given their dominance in the holiday market.
Both said that North Africa had been difficult. The problems in both Egypt and Tunisia had seen people opt for elsewhere or postpone bookings. It appears that Greece, Turkey and Spain are the countries that are picking up bookers who might otherwise have travelled to North Africa. Both companies had to cancel holidays there causing them some unexpected losses. Current confidence amongst holidaymakers was affected by VAT.
Elsewhere though, it looks as though TUI is attracting more of our business than Thomas Cook is managing. TUI says that holiday bookings are ahead of last year’s whilst Thomas Cook says theirs are “encouraging.” What does that really mean? Probably that both companies are having a hard time persuading us to spend any more than we want to. Thomas Cook has the Balearics heading growth from British holidaymakers whereas their bookings to Turkey are down slightly compared to last year. Neither seems to see much of an increase in bookings to North Africa as events stabilise.
As might be expected given the recent publicity, TUI points out how well all-inclusive bookings are. Reading between the lines, both companies seem to think it will not be an easy year. For us holidaymakers then this could mean that there are unlikely to be any price rises for this year even for fuel unless all suppliers introduce it at once. Thomas Cook has discounts on offer for some of the summer destinations and TUI may feel that it has to follow suit.
So for those who haven’t booked yet, there is every chance of availability (maybe at not your preferred destination) and some discounts or upgrades on prices