Operators dismiss Carrick’s warning over World Cup

A warning that summer 2010 bookings will be disrupted by a combination of the general election and FIFA World Cup has been dismissed as just another excuse for poor sales.

Speaking at the Advantage conference in Heathrow on Saturday, Hoseasons chief executive Richard Carrick claimed both events could hit sales, with the World Cup competition in June and July proving particularly detrimental.

However, operators and agents have said neither event is likely to impact sales, particularly since resorts have learnt to accommodate events such as the World Cup.

Classic Collection managing director Nick Munday said: “We’re a very nervous industry. We’ve got a suitcase full of excuses that we refer back to and can apply to any particular season.”

Munday said he remained unconcerned by both events while his summer 2010 programmes are currently selling well, accounting for 10% of all last week’s sales.

Kinver Travel Centre director Michelle Pereira said the election would have a minimal impact on next summer’s sales and argued the World Cup is less of a problem now resorts have learnt to cater for holidaymakers’ needs.

She added: “The World Cup does and doesn’t affect us; we have a lot of people who are going away asking us if their hotel has a big screen TV or if nearby bars do,

“Lots of people still book their holiday because they are fairly sure once they are abroad they can get find a TV and a pint.”

Olympic Holidays commercial director Photis Lambrianides agreed most resorts now make arrangements for such events. He said bookings for next summer are 15% up, with the family market proving particularly strong.

A Thomson and First Choice spokeswoman said both operators’ staff are confident that next summer’s sales will be unaffected by the election and tournament, adding: “There is plenty of evidence that people will still book a summer holiday for next year.”

However, sales and marketing director Paul Riches said Carrick was right to highlight the potential negative effects of both events.

He added: “We are very aware of both the general election and the World Cup as they do have an effect on bookings. There is no doubt about that.”

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