At least one major independent travel agency chain in the United Kingdom has predicted that there will be a shortage of holidays this summer as consumers are left with fewer destinations to choose from. The UK Foreign Office has warned against travel to Tunisia and flying to Sharm El Skeikh and amid continued security feats about travel to Turkey and the rest of Egypt. Barrhead Travel urged holidaymakers to book early for other popular holiday spots to avoid disappointment.
According to the agency other destinations are seeing a major jump in demand with bookings for Spain up by 37 per cent against this time last year, Bulgaria by 22 per cent, Malta by 20 per cent, Portugal by 18 per cent and Italy by 17 per cent.
These figures seem to fall in line when compared with the latest data from Gfk’s Leisure Travel Monitor, a leading specialist tourism intelligence company. Of course for Brits these are all considered short haul destinations, but will Barbados and the Caribbean generally have some filter through benefit?
The representative UK trade body, The Association of British Travel Agents, stated that 35 per cent of all Brits who are planning to go on holiday this year, have not yet booked. While it would be grossly unfair to prey on any other countries misfortunes, we all have to face the realities of the current safety and security fears and there can be no better example than Tunisia, which have witnessed a 90 per cent drop in British visitors in the first four months of 2016.
It is somewhat unfortunate that we lost the Thomas Cook flight from Manchester to Barbados this summer, which provided a lower cost alternative to the existing legacy carriers, namely British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. I can almost sense the response to the above, where observers could argue that all the previous destinations mentioned are at lower price points, when compared to us. That may be largely true, but in another article published in the Daily Mail, quoting a recently commissioned Travelex survey, which interviewed 2,000 Brit’s it stated the average UK holidaymaker budgeted just under GB Pounds 1,000 per person for their main getaway this year. British supermarket giant Asda owned by American Walmart through their financial services division claim this figure is GB Pounds 1,310.
Head of Retail for Travelex UK said ‘how we holiday has evolved so much over time – from days trips to seaside towns by train to now spending up to half a year planning the worldwide trip of a lifetime’. Adding ‘our ambitions now are to visit the far and wide therefore this changes our expectations of what we want to get out of our time away’.
Perhaps one of the biggest revelations of the survey was that less than 15 per cent of Brits will go on an all-inclusive holiday this year, with ’85 per cent preferring the freedom to plan their own trips abroad’.
And another, supporting those of us battling to entice back direct flights from Glasgow – ‘Scots are most likely to go on seven to eight holidays per year’