US operators report bookings up despite pound slump

Bookings to the US are confounding expectations of a slowdown due to a post-referendum slump in the value of the pound against the dollar, according to operators.

US and Caribbean specialist Funway Holidays said bookings to the US were up by 60% in the week of the referendum compared with the same week last year, and up by 89% last week.

The value of the pound dropped to its lowest level in three decades against the US dollar on Tuesday to $1.31. Funway managing director Stephen Rhodes said: “We’ve not seen any let-up. We even had a number of big bookings in the last week for £15,000 and £20,000.”

Asked why the vote for Brexit had seemingly had little impact, Rhodes said: “Us Brits like our holidays. People may have delayed before the referendum, but we’ve now seen that life goes on – we’re still driving our cars, going to work and need to book our holidays.

“We’ve had massive growth over the last nine months and that’s carrying on. You would assume it would be the opposite.”

Rhodes said fixed priced elements on some Florida bookings, such as the Disney Dining Plan, meant customers are not being put off on price grounds.

John Donnelly, managing director of Co-operative Florida Holidays, said more customers had been asking questions about whether prices were going up since the EU vote and if they should wait to book their holidays. However, he said there had been no drop-off in bookings.

“There will always be Mickey Mouse and people will continue to have children, so they will find the money to go,” he said.

Harry Hastings, joint chief executive of Florida and California specialist Ocean Holidays, said the company had seen some “short-term volatility”, but was confident bookings to the US would return in the peaks as normal. “Florida is a very resilient market,” he said.

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