Somak Holidays is pulling its official Far Eastern programme after being increasingly undercut on pricing by Asian suppliers.

Chief executive Ash Sofat said although the operator will continue to sell the destination to travel agents and customers who specifically request it, it will not put out another brochure to replace the 2008/09 programme which is about to expire.

He added the operator will not actively promote the destination either as suppliers offer cheaper prices direct to customers who are becoming increasingly comfortable with the destination.

Sofat said: “What we’re experiencing in the Far East is a lot of degradation in price and margins especially when you can now go online and book your flights and hotels.

“You get a lot of hoteliers selling their product online at prices that are not fair for tour operators.

“The market has become so price-sensitive that when you’re selling through agents and you have to figure in a commission then you’re not making any margins on it.”

Sofat added the programme was introduced three years ago and at its peak was dealing with around 1,500 passengers a year. He expects this number to half now the programme has been officially withdrawn.

The operator deals with around 20,000 passengers a year. A Somak spokeswoman added the decision would also allow the operator to focus on its core product in Africa which is resurgent after problems last year, particularly the rioting in Kenya at the beginning of 2008.

She said the operator is confident that it will restore the its customer numbers for Africa to the same as in 2007, adding: “It is very strong.”