Holidaying at home or abroad this year?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Turkey is seeing far more British tourists this year. Antalya is more than a beach resort as these waterfalls show. Image © Mohammed Reza Amirinia

Traditionally TUI (which used to be called Thomson) and Thomas Cook were companies that sold us overseas holidays. Could this now be their unmaking?

In the third quarter report Thomas Cook says, “However the sustained period of hot weather in June and July has led to a delay in customer bookings in the Tour Operator restricting our ability to drive margins in the “lates” market.”  Surely there must have been a World Cup impact as people put holidays on hold particularly as England progressed further than was believed at the beginning of the extravaganza.

As the report only come out on the last day of July and more hot weather is forecast how can the tour operator be sure that the delay in bookings won’t turn into a lack of bookings as people decide to enjoy their holidays in the UK and Ireland two places that Thomas Cook does not sell? There may be fewer “lates” sold as people holiday at home in August.

Blackpool Tower

Will more people plump for staycations? Blackpool Tower plus the pleasure beach

That raises a major question. Why don’t out top tour operators sell UK holidays? Why haven’t they bought a UK tour operator to add to their portfolio or even built one from scratch? At a time when Brexit may make taking a holiday abroad a little more complicated wouldn’t it be some “insurance” to sell staycations? Just as Saga, Hoseasons, Bourne Leisure, Superbreak and Shearings have expanded the UK market for holidays where is the interest from the big companies?

Some surveys say that up to 75% of us will take a staycation this year and whilst most of these would be short breaks rather than a main summer holiday, the market for staycations looks to be growing.

But then maybe Thomas Cook needn’t consider entering the staycation market when it can report that bookings for this summer are up 11% overall over the same period last year.

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