Football failure gives trade boost

The UK’s failure to see a single national team qualify for the Euro 2008 football tournament and early snow falls in the Alps are being hailed as two bits of good news in a potentially depressed market.

The failed qualifying campaigns for next summer’s sporting event culminated in England’s disastrous performance against Croatia last week while the highest resorts in Austria, France and Switzerland have seen three weeks of heavy snowfall.

Cosmos sales director Andy Washington said the trade should make the most of the situation, adding: “England’s failure to qualify takes away the issue of people deciding not to go away in June.”

However, he warned that prices may still suffer thanks to the growing lates market with many consumers booking just two weeks before their departure.

Club Med head of sales UK and Scandinavia Steve O’Loughlin argued there had been enough capacity cuts for next summer to maintain strong pricing and said the operator has seen double-digit growth for summer 2008 sales.

He added: “The football was fantastic news, we can now sell holidays and hopefully have a bumper summer.”

Meanwhile, Erna Low managing director Jane Bolton said the ski specialist was around 5% up on its sales which took off as soon as news of the snow falls filtered through. “It was like flicking a switch,” she said.

She added despite the growth there was also still plenty of availability as the UK schools holidays are not clashing with those in France, Holland and Germany.

Crystal Ski head of product Melvin Westlake agreed the snow fall had helped drive double digit growth in sales, adding: “You can see that people are watching where the snow is falling and then booking accordingly.”

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