TUI Travel bosses have urged the trade to avoid painting a negative image of short haul holidays because of the poor euro exchange rate.

The company claimed customers had become “fixated” on avoiding euro destinations, in part due to information put out by the trade as a whole.

Customer services director Tim Williamson admitted Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco are selling strongly as are all-inclusive destinations such as the Dominican Republic.

But he insisted: “We want to be careful about painting a picture of doom and gloom for short-haul. People are looking for value and we are seeing good sales of differentiated product, while the Holiday Villages are selling well.”

Distribution director Nick Longman added hoteliers were now being more proactive in offering special offers and cut-price deals to stimulate demand, particularly in the shorthaul European market.

“The market has recognised it has to do something to generate sales. I think the ‘downer’ on euro-land is exaggerated. There is tremendous value in euro-zone holidays and we are trying to encourage people to do the proper comparison.”

He denied the plea was a result of struggling sales, adding: “Short haul will still be our biggest seller this year.”

He added consumers had money to spend on holidays but wanted to ensure it was well-spent. “If you are a four-star customer you don’t suddenly become a three-star customer you compromise on other factors.”