Increased consumer demand and aggressive late prices are driving a recovery in sales for this summer.

Operators and accommodation-only specialists said sales have picked up in recent weeks after a poor start to the year.

Thomson head of sales Derek Jones said: “There are signs year on year that the market is starting to improve. We have seen some very aggressive prices on May departures from rivals in the past two weeks and we have had to respond to that.”

Holiday Brokers chief executive Steve Endacott said: “Sales are picking up. I’m not sure if it’s a case of cheap seats being dumped in the market or demand picking up – probably a combination of both.” sales director Paul Riches said the company had experienced a record day in its trading to date this week. “The market has got better,” he said. In particular, sales to Spain are 23% up for the accommodation-only specialist, 18% up for Turkey and 20% up for Greece.

Advantage managing director John McEwan said he expected sales to be higher because last year’s bookings were severely dented by the football World Cup.