Concerns about the state of the market in the final weeks of peak season are backed by the latest figures from industry analyst GfK Ascent.
The market analyst reported a 4% decline in sales year on year in the week to August 13 and a 6% shortfall in package bookings in the week to August 20. Yet season-to-date bookings for this summer remain only 1% down year on year – in line with reduced capacity offered by the big two.
Short-haul sales remain 8% up for the season at the expense of medium and long-haul holidays, with Spain the big winner and Turkey and Egypt both down by more than 100,000 bookings on last summer.
Average selling prices for late summer holidays booked in the week to August 13 remained up on the same week a year ago – by £27 on short-haul, £42 on medium-haul and £52 on long-haul – but down in the week to August 20.
GfK Ascent managing director Sarah Smalley said: “There isn’t a mass of excess capacity being sold off cheaply, but it appears prices are being cut.”
The decline to Turkey and Egypt shows no sign of stopping and is already carrying into next year with both destinations substantially down on early bookings for summer 2012. However, GfK Ascent reported this year’s pick-up to Spain, Greece and Cyprus has continued into 2012 amid a strong overall start to next summer.
Travel Weekly Group’s agent sales tool Gazetteers.com reported increased visitors and page views suggesting a pick-up in market activity. Visits were up year on year in 10 of the last 12 weeks to August 21.
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