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New Year holiday bargains

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 02:25

Jan.10 - Over a million people are expected to book their summer holidays in January as travel companies compete for customers by offering substantial discounts for early bookings. Hayley Platt reports

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January is the peak season for booking holidays but with many Brits tightening their belts the industry is nervous. UK travel watchdog ABTA says more than a million people will book trips over the next few weeks - spending around £500 million. Some, like businessman Douglas Miller, will take at least two holidays. SOUNDBITE: Douglas Miller, local business man, saying (English): "Because you have to work so hard in your business to make it work at this time we tend to see the holiday as being the real reward to what we do within the business, so having a really good break is really important." Spain, Turkey and Greece along with Cyprus and Florida are expected to be the top destinations for UK holidaymakers this year. Peter Holmes, owner of Classic Travel, remains optimistic. SOUNDBITE: Peter Holmes, owner Classic Travel, saying (English): "We're not seeing people move downmarket in their aspirations for a holiday, demand for holidays are remarkably robust. I think it's entrenched now in our society that we're almost entitled to that holiday." A number of travel operators and airlines are offering substantial discounts to customers in order to secure an early booking. Co-op travel and struggling Thomas Cook are cutting the price of a summer holiday by up to £400 while Thomson is offering discounts of £200 per couple. The cost of flights could also be key this year. All airlines using EU airports must now pay a new carbon tax. Airlines analysts John Strickland says it's not popular with the industry. SOUNDBITE: John Strickland, Director, JCL Consulting, saying (English): "They are already unhappy about the fact that this levy is going to apply in addition to other taxes which have been introduced in recent years by the government so it's an additional burden which will come through to ticket prices and could lead to reductions in demand." Virgin Atlantic boss Steve Ridgway agrees. SOUNDBITE: Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive, Virgin Atlantic, saying, (English): "Everyone hoped and thought 2012 would be a recovery year and it doesn't look as if it's going to be still difficult. The economy is still weak there's obviously all the problems still in Europe so again we're all fighting very hard to make sure we can pursed people to go on holiday." A recent survey suggested many in Britain sacrificed a break abroad last year and aren't willing to do the same this year. The holiday industry is hoping it's right. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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New Year holiday bargains

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 02:25