Early birds catch sun holidays

April 26, 1996

Not booked your summer holiday yet? Better get on with it, according to tourism expert Allan Beaver from Surrey University.

Mr Beaver says his research shows cheap last-minute packages will be rare this year. In fact late booking could cost customers more because demand for package holidays will exceed supply for the first time.

"The major operators are abandoning the holiday price wars and planning huge capacity cuts for 1996," he said. "Those who leave it too late will be left with higher priced packages." Research shows that 40 per cent of people leave booking their holiday until three months before departure.

Even if there is a sudden upswing in demand it is unlikely that travel companies will be able to lay on extra holidays at short notice as their charter planes will have been taken out of the UK.

"This is not travel agents' media hype," said Mr Beaver who has conducted an annual survey of the travel market for the past 17 years. "Capacity reductions mean holiday scarcities are likely to be a reality."

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