It’s that time of the year when companies post their yearly results and individuals count the cost of their next trip away. The two are inextricably linked, as shown by recent reports, suggesting the UK’s two biggest travel firms, Thomas Cook and TUI Travel, are set to release accounts showing second-quarter profits down anywhere from £20m to £30m. Huge hikes in fuel costs are at the root of the problem, but it is a problem exacerbated by low consumer confidence, as a result of ongoing financial uncertainty and political unrest in many otherwise popular North African and Arabic holiday destinations.
After the unique situations in 2010, when travel firms were hit by Icelandic ash clouds and heavy snow, the current unrest is more of a vicious circle, given that the political instability of certain oil-rich nations leads itself to higher fuel costs. What is sure is that there are many involved in the international travel industry who will be bracing themselves for another difficult year ahead. So, for those people planning their next trip away, it seems increasingly likely that trip will be confined to the shores of the UK. This is a factor in holiday choice not lost on the many local and national travel operators, who are keen to meet the increasing demand for short UK breaks and stay at home holidays.
There is some good news on the horizon for travel firms and it comes in the form of an extra Bank Holiday on April 29th. This is, of course, the date of the royal wedding and with some time off and perhaps some sense of increased national pride, UK destinations will be preparing themselves for increased numbers wanting a late-spring or early summer break. Whether wishing to live and dine like royalty in a fine hotel, or enjoy a beach-front B&B, now is the time to book it.