The industrys other concern is capacity – and alarm bells should perhaps be ringing. Latest CAA data shows the top 10 Atol holders expanded almost 15% this summer, with growth coming from online brands including Loveholidays and On the Beach Group, together licensed for an extra 774,000 seats.
Loveholidays increased its Atol in March by 53% to 1.23 million, moving it from seventh-biggest licence holder to fifth. The big three – Tui, Jet2holidays and Thomas Cook – renew in September and show no adjustments since then. Some increases are formerly unprotected sales coming under Atol, such as flight-only, which were previously sold as “agent to the consumer” bookings. Similarly, OTAs will often not commit to flights or beds, so capacity hikes may be notional.
Loveholidays did not provide details, but the companys marketing director, Christian Armond, said: “Prices are more competitive for summer 2019 versus last year, with great deals in Spain, the Canaries, Balearics and Greek islands.”
This could be due to over-capacity and Brexit sluggishness, but theres also the resurgence of Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt to consider, prompting keener pricing in rival destinations – but offset by the pounds weakness against the euro.
Over-supply might mean operator woe, but Stark says: “Its good from an independents perspective because theres plenty of availability, though obviously its forcing prices down. Everything is pointing towards it maybe being quite an aggressive lates market.”
Fisher agrees the lates market will be strong.
“I feel quite a few people have held off, but that people will still book. People have waited and the clouds have lifted.”
Travel Counsellors reports “significant” growth in Greece and Cyprus, plus UK short breaks and multi-centrRead More – Source