Turkey challenges Spain in summer holiday market

Turkey is outperforming Spain in sales for the first time, ­according to The Co-operative Travel Group.

Director of retail travel Trevor Davis said since the start of the lates market, package sales to Turkey for summer 2008 have increased by 30%, while sales for Spain’s top-performing destination Majorca have dropped 13%.

Dalaman is now the top-selling resort for the group. ­Davis added: “Bookings from people looking for cheap ­summer sun have traditionally ensured Spain was the leading holiday destination.”

However, he said the ­unfavourable euro-pound ­exchange rate is putting people off and there is a shortage of availability for late deals.

Tour operators agreed there has been a shift in sales of holidays outside the eurozone.

Cosmos head of product and development Ian Hailes said Turkey has seen a 25% increase in its 2008 summer package sales, while bookings for Spain have dropped 6%.

However, the operator has still booked nearly four times as many packages to Spain this year as it did last year.

Hailes said: “Operators are struggling to sell Spanish packages because component sales are increasing for the western Mediterranean.”

Association of Independent Tour Operators chairman Derek Moore agreed, adding: “One has to ask whether the multitude of low-cost carriers to Spain has led to the loss of package operator support.”

Spanish Tourist Office ­director Ignacio Vasallo ­dismissed the reports. He said: “The big picture is Spain is ­going to have 15.5 million UK visitors this year.”

The group’s Turkey sales for summer are 30% up on last year

Co-operative Travel’s top destinations: summer 2008 lates market

  1. Turkey – Dalaman
  2. Majorca
  3. Crete
  4. Turkey – Bodrum
  5. Algarve
  6. Cyprus
  7. Tenerife
  8. Costa Blanca
  9. Sharm el-Sheikh
  10. Rhodes

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