With less than two weeks before the start of the main summer school holidays, ABTA is encouraging UK holidaymakers not to leave it too late to book their summer break after trends show some encouraging areas of growth.
Despite the tough economy, the number of holidays booked for eurozone destinations such as Spain [+11%], Portugal [+8%] and Greece [+2%], have bounced back after two tough years with overall short haul bookings [Europe and North Africa] to date for Summer 2011 seeing an upturn of 9% according to latest figures from leading market research company GfK-Ascent MI. This growth has been fed by hoteliers keeping prices low, tour operators offering all inclusive options and prices in bars and restaurants coming down due to the tough economic situation on the continent. Short haul growth has also helped boost the short-break market from the UK to popular cities such as Paris, Madrid and Rome.
Great deals are to be found in Tunisia and Egypt which are very keen on welcoming UK tourists back after the political upheaval earlier this year. The travel trade is also finding that there are still bargains to be had in Turkey which has seen spectacular growth in recent years.
Cruises are continuing to be popular in 2011, with an expected 5 per cent increase in the number of passengers cruising from the UK this year. In the summer, the Mediterranean provides the most popular cruising itineraries, and while it is still possible to book some late deals for the school summer holidays, availability is limited.
During the recession, luxury holidays were substantially affected, but have now experienced a healthy come back with holidaymakers choosing spa breaks and luxury hotels. Customers are becoming increasingly adventurous with activity holidays surging in popularity.
Responsible tourism has leapt up the travel industry’s agenda in 2011 with initiatives such as the Travelife Sustainability System. The scheme awards hotels and holiday accommodation and rates them with bronze, silver and gold awards depending on their environmental and socially responsible achievements they have made. See www.travelifecollection.com.
ABTA Top Tips for Trouble Free Travel.
• Have confidence in the company you book. Choose an ABTA Member (check with www.abta.com) and check whether your holiday arrangements are financially protected. If they are not, think of using a credit or visa debit card.
• Book a Travelife hotel from the Travelife Collection so that your holiday property is doing as much as it can to recycle, re-use and reduce, while also respecting local communities.
• Always take out travel insurance. This will cover you for cancellation charges due to illness or losing your job, medical expenses and loss or theft of property while you are away. Make sure the policy is suitable for the type of trip you are on and the activities you plan to do while you are away. Always disclose any pre-existing medical conditions and be aware that you will not be covered for any personal injury you incur while you are drunk.
• Check your passport is valid and that you have a visa for your destination if you need one. Remember that you can be renew your passport up to 9 months before it expires.
• Make copies of your travel documents.
• Arrange holiday money. Make sure you have more than one ATM or credit card that you or your partner can use abroad. A mixture of foreign currency and cards is always advisable. According to Which? Holiday, many ABTA Members offer the best rates both on the high street and online.
• Leave plenty of time to get to the airport. Pre-book your travel there or airport parking.
• Use your hotel safe for passports and valuables
• Explore. Find out more about the destination you are going to. Learn some useful phrases. Respect local culture and traditions, and make sure you dress appropriately for where you are visiting. Ask your rep or your hotel about local attractions and excursions.
• Buy Locally. Buying locally made souvenirs and eating and drinking at local cafes and restaurants are great ways to get into the holiday spirit, and also benefit the local community.
• Take your own personal safety as seriously abroad as you do at home.
Sample Holiday Offers
First Choice offers seven nights in Turkey, staying at the 4T Eftalia Aqua Resort in Antalya from £2548. Prices based on two adults and two children sharing on an all inclusive basis including flights and transfers departing from Manchester Airport on 4th August 2011
Thomson offers seven nights in Mallorca staying at the 4T Playa Mar Aparthotel in Puerto Pollensa from £1420. Prices based on two adults and two children sharing on a self catering basis including flights and transfers departing from Stansted Airport on 23rd August 2011
Thomson offers seven nights in Greece staying at the 3T Aegean Aparthotel in Halkidiki from £1393. Prices based on two adults and two children sharing on a self catering basis with flights and transfers included departing from Gatwick on 29th August 2011.
Thomas Cook - 7 nights in Turkey from £1,929 for family of three on all inclusive (was £2,359 - saving of £430) Staying at the 4 star Yelken Blue Life in Beldibi on all inclusive, Birmingham-2nd August 2011
Thomas Cook - 7 nights in Tenerife from £2,249 for family of three on all inclusive (was £2,969 - saving of £720) INCLUDES FREE CHILD PLACE
Staying at the 5 star Bahia Principe in Costa Adeje on all inclusive, Glasgow -7th August 2011
Thomas Cook - 7 nights in Cyprus from £1,939 for family of three on all inclusive (was £2,719 - saving of £780) INCLUDES FREE CHILD PLACE
Staying at the 4 star Pafian Sun Village in Paphos on all inclusive, Manchester - 16th August 2011
Cosmos – £265 per person excl transfers £285 including transfers - 7 nights at 3 Diamond self-catering at the Apartments Iris, in Kos, based on 3 sharing. 24th Aug, Gatwick to Kos.
Cosmos - £289 per person exc trans £309 inc transfers, 3 Diamond self-catering at the Apartments Anemona, Corfu. based on 3 sharing. 25th July Manchester to Corfu.