Holiday belt-tightening

By | Category: Travel news
Gwithian Beach in Cornwall

Gwithian in Cornwall. Cornwall might have a bumper tourism year if the pundits are right in saying more of us are cutting back and staying at home.

According to both the tour operator TUI and the hotelier, Travelodge, UK holidaymakers are counting their pennies and the holiday market is beginning to notice.

TUI (which, in case readers have forgotten, owns brands like Thomson, First Choice, Crystal, Falcon, Austravel and Hayes & Jarvis to name just some of the 220) says that holidaymakers have being hit in two ways. The first is that sterling has dropped and it continues to do so as the financial markets digest the outcome of the general election and secondly, due to rising prices destinations in popular destinations.

How are holidaymakers responding? According to TUI we are cutting back on the number of days we holiday. It says we are trimming two or three days off our holiday time. The chairman of TUI, Klaus Mangold, says that Italy, Spain and Greece are all increasing prices and that, so far, TUI has not raised prices but it may have to do so. Generally tour operators price their holidays for the forthcoming summer in late July. That is when we will know the scale of price increases for summer 2018. Some destinations will be pricier but there will always be some that will see this as an opportunity to pinch business from their rivals.

Travelodge, on the other hand, says that its annual holiday index shows that 55% of Brits will holiday at home this year.  Bear in mind that Travelodge doesn’t reflect the UK market as a whole but, compared to a similar survey it did last year, the number saying they will holiday in the UK this year has dropped by three percentage points. The survey was done before the election so my thought is that, if the survey were to be re-done, the number would change. Travelodge hints that the reason the number has dropped is because money is tighter and some won’t holiday at all.

It says that Cornwall, Devon, North Wales, Blackpool and the Isle of Wight are the hot spots this year which doesn’t seem unduly different from any other year. It also says that the amount people will spend has dropped by £130 yet a package holiday often works out as cheaper than one in the UK. Perception seems to say otherwise until people add up their spending and do comparisons.

Maybe the evidence from TUI and Travelodge just shows that we are unsure about the future. As are the tour operators and, incidentally, the politicians!

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