High euro could boost holiday prices, say tour operators

The low value of the pound against the euro could result in significantly more expensive holidays next year, tour operators have said.

As the pound reached an all-time low of 0.8063p against the euro on Tuesday, Federation of Tour Operators director-general Andy Cooper said the exchange rate would affect operators’ deals with hotels, transfer companies and ground handling fees.

“Brochure prices have not been affected this year but next year people will see a difference,” he said.

Cosmos head of product and development Ian Hailes said the price of summer 2009 holidays would increase by around £35 per person on accommodation.

He said: “Our costs will go up on anything we pay for in euros and we can’t expect the suppliers to compensate for the weak pound, so we have to pass it on.”

Destinations outside the eurozone will benefit from the exchange rate. “Families are already comfortable travelling to destinations such as Turkey and Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and now they will become even more attractive,” said Hailes.

Meanwhile, Prestige Holidays sales manager John Joinson said the luxury operator would strive to keep prices in line with the market.

“We could see higher prices next year, but with careful negotiation with hotels we should be able to control this increase. Families will always want a short journey to their destination so I don’t think this will put them off going to Europe.”

An ABTA spokesman said the media has exaggerated the problem. “Exchange rates will always fluctuate. Agents should reassure customers places such as Spain are still very good value and cheaper than the UK.”

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