A spokesperson for travel agent Thomas Cook says its average holiday prices are set to rise by nine per cent this year. The spokesperson said increased competition and soaring hotel rates in Spain were key factors in the decision to raise prices and aim for more upmarket travellers.
The spokesperson noted that Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey had plummeted in popularity as holiday destinations because of the risk of getting caught up in a terrorist attack. He explained the higher rates for hotels in Spain were due to hoteliers reacting to increased demand as holidaymakers switched their allegiances.
Hotel rates in Spain are now about eight per cent dearer and Thomas Cook is passing on this fee to customers. Other holiday operators and airlines have increased options to favourites like the Canary Islands and Majorca and this has also eaten into Thomas Cook’s usual customer base.
The switch in strategy to offering upmarket holidays comes hot on the heels of reported quarterly losses of almost £50 million. Thomas Cook says it needs a new approach and this is the main reason for changing from holiday quantity growth to quality packages which generally yield higher profits.
Thomas Cook is one of the UK holiday firms of choice and has an estimated six million customers here. Despite the record loss, Thomas Cook says it is not all doom and gloom as revenue for the same quarter increased by one per cent and reservations for summer holidays in Greece are already up by 40 per cent.