When times are hard the signs of people tightening their purse strings are everywhere. Staying in becomes the new going out, that new car gets put off another year, or perhaps redecorating the house is a more attractive proposition than moving up the property ladder. In the midst of such financial hardships, uncertain futures and rising costs, there was always one thing which bucked the trend – that two week summer sunshine holiday. People may feel it is the one thing they deserve, as a reward, as a well earned break, but as a Thomas Cook report, via Reuters, shows, that summer holiday abroad has just joined the ever-increasing list of personal financial sacrifices.
The second largest travel firm in Europe, Thomas Cook, like everyone else it seems, is feeling the pinch. Summer bookings are just one percent above that of last year, a year beset by cumulative travel disasters, grinding to a sharp halt previously recorded growth at 6%. Furthermore, this is no global or pan-European trend, with bookings up as much as 11% in other northern European countries. Earnings in the UK have become increasingly constrained and, aligned with rises in VAT, fuel costs and concerns over government spending cuts, the summer holiday abroad just had to go.
It is a blow certainly for those who like their exotic sunshine destinations and also for those who work in the overseas travel industry, with Thomas Cook share price down 40% in a year and showing no imminent signs of improvement. If clouds have their silver lining however, perhaps they will part a little and shine some good fortune on the great British holiday destinations instead. There is sunshine to be had in the UK and the inherent flexibility in last minute offers and short break deals allows UK travellers to make the best of it.
Image: Aeroplane – Thomas Cook by puddy_uk, on Flickr