Hayes and Jarvis has reported strong growth in the long-haul sector as markets book increasingly late.

Following a poor year in 2008 due to political issues, which saw charter operators pull their programmes for a period of time, head of commercial Niel Alobaidi said Kenya has returned to the number one spot in a list of the operator’s best selling late booking destinations.

While much of the 97% year-on-year sales increase this month has been thanks to the more stable situation in Kenya, Alobaidi added the destination is also seeing sales growth on 2007’s figures before problems emerged.

He said: “Kenya stands out as the best seller – bouncing well back from the riots that damaged its tourism prospects in 2008 – but Sri Lanka and Thailand are also selling very strongly, with sales up by more than 50% in recent weeks.”

Alobaidi said Sri Lanka had seen a 79% increase in sales in the last four weeks, making it the second best-selling late destination, while Thailand was up 62% in the same period, making it the fourth.

He added: “You wouldn’t say these are necessarily strong destinations [at this time of year] but they are driven by the aviation market.”

Alobaidi said deals are being introduced by airlines within 12 weeks before departure, allowing lead-in prices of £499 for an eight-night bed-and-breakfast stay in a four-star property in Sri Lanka including flights.