Package holiday prices in the January peak booking period for summer 2021 have fallen as the industry seeks to stimulate post-Covid crisis demand.

Average rates have fallen by a minimum of 10% year-on-year and are down a massive 54% for the Algarve as Portugal suffers from the knock-on effect of the Brazilian variant of the virus.

Seven-night summer breaks in the Mediterranean start at less than £150 per person with Corfu, Crete, Costa Dorada, Costa Brava and the Bodrum area of Turkey offering the best value.

Self-catering bargains can be found in Corfu, Costa Brava, Malta, Majorca and the Algarve.

The results are revealed in new pricing research into searches made via holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket in the first two weeks of the month over the same period last year.

The most popular summer 2021 seven-night package holiday search is for Crete, where prices are down 10% year-on-year.

Tenerife is the second most popular search for this summer, with the average price 13% lower, followed by Maldives, Majorca, Dubai, Barbados, Paris/Disneyland Paris, Santorini, Cancun and Las Vegas.

TravelSupermarket industry commentator Emma Coulthurst said: “I don’t think it is a coincidence that six of the destinations on the list are islands, many of which have seen low virus incidence.

“We’re seeing searches and bookings centred on May departures onwards.

“Last weekend saw an increase in search. It seems that holiday price comparison searches and bookings increase as more vaccine centres are opened and the number of people vaccinated increases.

“May, June and July are currently the most popular months to lock in a holiday for.

“Spain, Greece and Turkey are high on people’s short-haul beach break lists.

“Crete is offering some great prices for 2021 – in the top five of best package holiday prices for the summer – and remained off the quarantine list for most of last year which probably explains its position on the list.

“We’re also seeing people getting excited about long-haul, especially from September onwards, with New York and Las Vegas at the top of Brits’ fun escape lists.”

She added: “I am not sure why prices would be so different for Portugal. But, the Brazilian [virus] variant, which is also affecting Portugal, will not have helped demand.

“There may be other factors as well but a stymying of demand with the [travel] ban in the last week may be the reason for such a significant price drop, as a way to try and encourage bookings.”

The results came as add-ons firm Holiday Extras found that almost one in five people (17%) plan to go on holiday in May, with a further 13% hoping to get away in June.

Meanwhile, bookings taken by holidaycottages.co.uk since Saturday are 85% up compared to the previous week, while overall domestic bookings from Easter onwards are 37% ahead of the same point last year.