Domestic short breaks could be seen as a luxury by some holidaymakers next year, Superbreak has admitted.

Sales and marketing director Ian Mounser said the sector was under pressure from the current credit crunch despite claims by Hoseasons chief executive Richard Carrick that more consumers were likely to wait until later to book and opt for domestic short breaks.

Mounser said: “Let’s not fool ourselves. Disposable income is less and with the cost of fuel, shortbreaks will be seen by a proportion of our customers as a bit of a luxury. It’s not booming in the domestic market but we will probably trade through it better than most.”

He added: “Our view is that it [the market] is neutral to marginally negative.”

Already leading industry figures have predicted that holidaymakers will drop their short breaks and concentrate on just taking a main holiday next year because of financial pressures, while at the budget end some will be unable to go on an overseas holiday at all.

Mounser said: “Are customers who are less likely to take an overseas holiday, the type of consumers who are inclined to take domestic breaks? They will be key to how big the shift is.”

Some holidaymakers have already opted for regional UK breaks over Europe, said Mounser. “Provincial UK is benefitting from the downturn in European breaks.”

But London has suffered compared to last year because of fewer new high-profile musicals and exhibitions, he said.

National sales manager Graham Balmforth added that the operator had seen bookings increase through travel agents as consumers sought more advice and financially protected holidays.