Seven-night holidays gain popularity as package decline slows

Seven-night holidays look set to overtake 14-night trips as the most popular duration for families in summer 2008 and could be accompanied by a revival in the package holiday.

Figures from Ascent-MI’s Leisure Travel Monitor, which collates data from across the mainstream travel industry, show fewer holidaymakers are choosing 14-night breaks while the decline in package holidays is slowing.

Commercial director Sarah Smalley said: “We are certainly not seeing the death of the package holiday.”

This is backed up by figures from the Office of National Statistics’ 2007 International Passenger Survey, which show the number of ex-UK package holidays in the first two quarters of 2007 increased compared with the same period in 2006 – from 6.8 million to 6.9 million.

Independent holidays out of the UK for the same period fell from 9.8 million to 9.6 million.

Observers say this could be due to major operators clawing back sales after investing in customer relationship management and web technology.

Ex-UK package holidays peaked in 2001 with 16.9 million holidays compared with 12.9 million independent holidays, according to the IPS. By 2006, ex-UK independent trips reached 21.4 million compared with 15.6 million packages.

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