Monday, 18 May 2009

The Brits to Spain holiday market is in meltdown at the moment.

"Unless prices drop soon, dozens of hotels, restuarants and tourist attractions in Spain and its islands risk closure."Last year 15.8million UK tourists holidayed in Spain, representing 27 per cent of all visitors to the country.But while Spain remains our No1 destination, the number of Brits going there is down by 23 per cent so far this year.The explanation is simple. In January 2007 Britons travelling to Spain got 1.5 euros for a pound. Now they get just 1.1.By comparison, Turkey, Egypt and other non-euro countries look very good value for money.A recent survey by Thomas Cook found the average holiday expenditure in Majorca was £42.40 per person per day. In Egypt it was £33.93, in Turkey £30.12, in Cuba, £27.44 and in Goa just £12.58.But great deals in mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary Islands could be just around the corner.Steve Endacott, Chief Executive of travel agents On Holiday, confirmed: "Destinations like Minorca and Majorca have been hit particularly badly."But the majority of late charter flight seats left to sell are to Spain and at really low prices. I,ve never seen such low prices for flights to Spain. Basically, there are a lot more Spanish holidays to sell, while most deals to Turkey, Egypt and the like have gone."Spain has also seen a huge slump in domestic bookings.And many Spanish hoteliers are ready to slash rates much more aggressively than Greek or Turkish hotels.Britain's leading travel group TUI Travel announced earlier this week that almost HALF of its holidays had yet to be sold.Overall, the beleaguered tourism industry has seen bookings fall by an estimated quarter of a billion pounds this year. The total number of all foreign trips booked this year has fallen by nearly 20 per cent, as cautious Brits, fearing that they could lose their jobs, wait until the last minute before buying.The pound is also much weaker against the US dollar than it was and trips to North America have slumped by 29 per cent.
Travel industry expert Kevin May advised families to look for bargains in June and July. He said: "Firms are not filling up all their plane seats and hotel rooms, so once we get into June and there's still capacity to fill, prices will have to come down."A spokeswoman for Which? Holiday said: "There will be bargains. But one market that is holding up well is Britain. Camp sites and places like Center Parcs are 99 per cent booked up." Surprisingly, one overseas destination worth checking out for cheap deals is pig flu-hit Mexico.The Foreign Office has lifted its ban on non-essential travel and flights resume on May 24.Experts said travel agents are set to cut prices on Mexico.

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