By Humphrey Carter
SPANISH airlines are determined not to increase airfares, despite the rising cost of oil, but Spanish holidaymakers are going to be hit by a rise in the price of travel.

President of the Spanish Federation of Travel Agents, Jesús Martínez Millán, said yesterday that the continuing rise in the cost of fuel is inevitably going to have an affect on holiday prices and the cost of travel.

For example, and taking into account the present price of fuel, he said that a price of a 600 euro package holiday will see an increase of as much as 12 euros.

However, Jesús Martínez Millán believes that the travel industry will be able to hold out a little longer. “Holiday prices are not going to go up immediately and those people who have already booked their summer holiday and will be travelling within 20 days of a price hike being announced, will be unaffected. But, in the mid-term we will see an increase in prices, although I doubt it will affect demand or put people off travelling,” he said, adding that most summer holidays are now sold.

Jesús Martínez Millán explained that, as a result of the ten percent increase in fuel, holiday prices are also being pushed up by a similar amount. “It's tough for all of us, our clients because they have to pay more and for the travel agent because it is a forced price hike and the profits remain the same,” he said. “The only people who benefit from all this are the oil companies,” he added.
This is not the first time the Spanish travel and tourism industry has been held to ransom by rising fuel prices at the peak of the summer season. “It's not going to lead to cancellations and the tour operators have always tried to absorb the extra costs,” he said. “It is the smaller tour firms who face the real dilemma of having to decide whether to make the client pay or cover the costs themselves.” He does however believe the Spanish airlines pledge to try and maintain present air fares for as long as possible.
He said the ticket-only travellers will not be hit, in the short term, but, nevertheless, his advice is for people to book their airline tickets as soon as they know when they are going to travel.

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