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Published on Friday, January 4, 2019

Holiday prices slashed by more than a third as Sunshine Saturday approaches







Tour operators are slashing 2019 summer package prices by as much as 36% to attract early bookers, according to price comparison site TravelSupermarket.

As the industry gets ready for Sunshine Saturday tomorrow - expected to be be the busiest day of the year for holiday bookings - TravelSupermarket looked at package holidays prices across 25 operators.

Comparing searches on its site between December 17 and January 2 this year and last, for departures May 1 to October 21, it found massive drops in prices.

The median price of a seven-night summer package booked this time last year to the Algarve was £50.80 per person per night. A search this year for the same type of holiday found a price of £32.62, a drop of 36%.

The price has also dropped 28% to the Costa Brava, 31% to Zante/Zakynthos, 13% to Majorca and 17% to the Costa del Sol, said the price comparison site.

"After last year's prolonged heatwave, tour operators will not want to be left with lots of stock in the summer so are appealing to those late deal hunters to snap up these bargains early," said Emma Coulthurst, TravelSupermarket travel commentator.

"These holidays have been priced to ensure that they are within as many people's reach as possible. The prices are to appeal to those people who holidayed at home last summer and may have spent more than they expected to. The outbound travel industry will also be hoping for a cooler summer this year!"

She said there are currently seven-night, 3-star self-catering holidays to the Algarve, The Costa Brava and Crete this May from the UK, with flights and accommodation included, from jusy £105pp self-catering or from £181pp for a week's all-inclusive holiday.

"There are also holidays for families with school-age children in the middle of the school holidays for as little as £214pp, which is unheard of in peak season," she added.

"These unbelievably low prices are what you might see last minute on offer in June or September to a few places but rather than just be available for a few holidays, they are currently available for many.

"This weekend is about Sunshine Sunday for us. For holiday price comparison on our site, the first Sunday of January, so this coming Sunday 6th January, tends to be the busiest day of the year on our site.

"The number of people comparing holiday prices on our site started to rise as the Queen's Speech started on Christmas Day, has continued to rise for a fortnight and we expect it to peak this Sunday as the back-to-work blues really hit home. The rest of January will also be busy as holidaymakers continue to compare prices and try and snap up holidays, which they then have to time to save for and look forward to."

She urged consumers not to be concerned about Brexit.

"Despite the current uncertainty around a deal or no deal, it is in Europe's interest to put reciprocal flying agreements in place," she said.

"Brits are a prized possession to many EU countries like Spain and Greece who rely on Brit holiday custom. After France, Brits are the largest group of visitors to Spain. But, for anyone concerned about Brexit, I would encourage people to book a package holiday, rather than go DIY with their flight and hotel as it ensures legal and financial protection if anything goes wrong."

TravelSupermarket also expects Turkey and Bulgaria to be popular this summer, due to favourable exchange rates.

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  • Same old tricks

    The industry shot itself in the foot year ago by offering big 'discounts' from day one. What other industry does that during their peak selling period. Now if any of the main TO's offer good prices from the off without mentioning the word Sale or Discount, they get no bookings as everyone expects a 'deal'. We always bucked that, we never offered discounts, we just offered the best prices from day one, people either booked or didn't, we never relented on this but always had good booking levels because we were straight, uncomplicated and trusted. I find all this so-called superdeals all very tacky.

    By Keith Standen, Friday, January 4, 2019

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