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Advantage 2008: Package holiday sales up 20%

Sales of package holidays through Advantage travel agents has leapt around 20% as a result of the collapse of XL Leisure Group and Zoom Airlines.


The consortium of independent travel agents claimed consumers were turning their backs on do-it-yourself holidays in favour of fully financially protected package holidays.


The hike in package sales is since the high-profile collapses and based on a comparison with the same period last year.


It follows a revival in package holiday sales in summer 2007, when the consortium´s package sales were up 6% in a market where capacity had been cut by 10% by the major tour operators.


Advantage chief executive John McEwan said: “These terrible company failures have highlighted the value of booking an ATOL-protected holiday package when heading overseas, as well as the support available from travel agents should holidaymakers get caught up in unexpected events.”


He added that since the holiday company failures, holidaymakers had been asking agents if their holidays were fully protected. Some customers who usually book online were also now returning to the travel agent to book.


McEwan claimed the value of the package holiday was surprising some consumers, whose travel budgets have been squeezed by the credit crunch. “Travellers are often delighted to realise that the best value is not available online,” he said.


He also warned that further capacity cuts by major operators and the collapse of XL meant there would be fewer holidays on sale next year and a reduction in the number of last minute deals that consumers were used to in the past. “To get the holiday of your choice at the best price you need to book early,” he warned.


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