Exclusive: Travel agents say winter sun is still shining

Operators and agents are reporting sales for the 2008/09 winter sun market are flat or slightly up on last year, despite the hammering the economy has taken in the past few weeks.

The feedback supports the latest industry statistics revealed by Ascent Market Intelligence this week.

Premier Holidays product manager Nikki Hain said bookings for the Middle East are up by a single-figure amount, largely thanks to strong sales for Dubai where hoteliers are driving bookings with a number of offers.

She added the situation has been further helped by an end to rising fuel surcharges. Hain said: “Agents need to be aware there’s money out there but they have to give the extra service.”

Peltours sales and marketing director Darren Panto said sales to Egypt for the winter are the same as last year with Christmas, new year and Easter all looking strong, although he admitted January is slow.

Club Med head of sales UK and Scandinavia Steve O’Loughlin said he was seeing double-digit growth for its winter long-haul properties.

Kinver Travel owner Sue Foxall said the agency is currently flat on its year-on-year sales for winter 2008/09.

She said: “Those wanting winter sun in Spain are going to have to book as soon as they can as with the limited flights whatever is available is going to be at a premium.”

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