The number of holidays sold last week was more than 50,000 higher than in the equivalent week last year.

The latest figures from market analysts GfK Ascent-MI revealed today showed that 56,000 more bookings were made in the week to Sunday, February 7 than in the equivalent week in 2009.

The performance marks the third successive week of improved sales after the start to the year was hampered by poor weather and consumer caution over an increase in VAT.

GfK Ascent-MI managing director Sarah Smalley said agents continued to drive sales growth.

“Online is doing well, but agents are doing better,” she said. “This is great news for the industry, and for agents in particular.”

The industry as a whole has been cautious about hailing a recovery, particularly as sales in January 2009 were particularly poor as consumer confidence plummeted.

But a number of agencies are now reporting strong sales compared to both 2009 and 2008, suggesting that there may be some cause for optimism.