Operators feel the heat

UK operators are seeing sales go through the roof
thanks to the latest spell of hot weather while the mass-market package
industry continues to struggle.

Bourne Leisure, which owns Butlins, Warner, Haven and
British Holidays, said sales of its camping brands were up 25% on last year for
the past three weeks.

Head of agency sales Steve O’Loughlin said: “The last
three weeks have been incredible and it also looks like being a bumper period
for the next couple of weeks. The weather has definitely contributed. People
are deciding not to bother going away when they can get great weather here.”

O’Loughlin said the weather had brought hundreds of
new customers to its brands.

“Speaking to travel agents it’s clear people who would
have usually gone abroad for a summer break are staying in the UK, many of them
for the first time,” she said.

Hoseasons is also performing well with bookings 20%
ahead of last year.

Chief executive Richard Carrick said: “Britain is back
on the holiday map. Travellers are now betting the good weather will continue
later into the year with the chance of an Indian summer.”

However, there was a mixed reaction from the
vertically-integrated groups. Thomas Cook director of trade relations Ian
Derbyshire said: “The market is tough and the weather doesn’t help but people
still want to have a break and a fundamental part of that is travelling

TUI UK commercial director Derek Jones said: “We are
still finding we have sufficient demand to fill capacity.”

MyTravel UK retail distribution managing
director Dave Harris said: “If people want to go away they will – even if it’s
hot here.”




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