According to package holiday sales data, this past week has been the second strongest start to a trading year for the past seven.
Hugh Morgan, the Managing Director of the Monarch Travel Group, said that he has hardly ever seen anything like it. I know we are outstripping the market, but I don't know of anyone complaining. The direct trade, online, ipad and iphone, is performing extremely well, that certainly is the future hence why we've all stepped up our direct sales policies, but the high street trade is moving well too. Out and about in the sales over the weekend, the shops were just packed. People can't spend money fast enough. I think, after such an awful start to Winter people are so depressed by the weather they decided to go out and start spending and, more importantly they are spending on holidays. It's great to see and I think it's going to continue because this year, we have a clear calendar in the UK. No Olympics, no Jubilee, no football, nothing to keep us here and it looks like the bulk of Britain can't get on a plane to the sun quick enough. The hoteliers are also playing ball with us, so there are some really good offers knocking around and we're all working really hard with marketing and publicity campaigns to make this summer work. And, another encouraging factor is that people are not only booking during the peak season. Demand is well spread all the way through from the beginning of May. April is traditionally slow, so I guess those Majorcan hoteliers not opening until May have probably made the right choice because Easter is early April and, until the start of May, there is always a drop off with people waiting for the weather to warm up, Morgan said yesterday.
He also said that, despite its problems, Greece is doing really well again. Last year they appointed a new Minister for Tourism and she's a really smart cookie and spent a great deal of time in the UK being really proactive, talking to all the tour operators etc. and it's paid off despite the country's internal problems, he added.
That said, Spain is continuing to out perform last year , as is the Balearics despite the Ministry for Tourism having done nothing to promote the region over the winter in its main European markets like the UK and Germany.
However, lucky for the Balearics and the market as a whole, it appears that package holidays are back in fashion in the UK and the boom in the independent holiday market is over.
According to a recent note from Morgan Stanley, package holidays grew by 5% between 2010 and 2012, increasing their share of the overseas holiday market by three percentage points. Independent holidays declined 5%.
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