Danger zones reshape holiday map
Czech travel agents are this year for the first time experiencing the full extent of vacationers’ mistrust of potentially unsafe destinations. In advance sales for the summer season, there is a stark decline in interest when it comes to holidays in Egypt and Tunisia, while the Czechs are also showing clear restraint towards Turkey. In contrast, demand for traditional European destinations, particularly Bulgaria, Spain, Greece and the Greek islands, is overflowing.
In terms of Greece, the first ‘Sold out’ notices have been put up for May and June, while nearly all bookings for the Spanish islands and Sardinia have been taken. The lack of appetite for holidays in North Africa is being encountered among consumers throughout Europe, with the aversion somewhat stronger in the western parts of the continent than it is in the Czech Republic.
“The Germans and the British are filling up destinations which are also very appealing to Czechs,” said deputy chair of the Czech Association of Travel Agents [ACK ČR] Jan Papež. According to him, doing historically well are the well-established resorts. Places at these resorts are being fought over by travel agents from all over Europe, and the big success the facilities are currently enjoying is particularly highlighted by the level of last-minute bookings that remain available.
Either there are no offers at all, or the remaining offers are markedly more expensive than in previous years. “There is a giant growth in demand in this area, things will be full, even outside of the main season,” added another deputy chair of ACK ČR, Zdeněk Kříž.
The excessive demand is apparently also showing through in upwards pressure on prices. For this year, the prices were already stated and travel offices have them under contract, but the pricing trend will become clear during tariff negotiations for next year.
But in Egypt, hoteliers are dropping their prices, while their Turkish counterparts are hesitantly following suit. Since the Turkish airforce’s shooting down of a Russian fighter plane in late November last year, they have contended with a massive withdrawal of
“The Turkish hoteliers will have a problem occupying capacity. By now they are giving us discounts and we are cutting the prices of holidays in Turkey,” said Jan Osúch, spokesman for holiday firm CK Fischer. The same thing was observed by František Vorel, a representative of CK Blue Style. He anticipated that the average such vacation price would tumble by around 10 percent. All-inclusive eight-day tours to five-star hotels would therefore be on offer for less than CZK 11,000.
Travel agents are betting on a moderating of the situation and a subsequent heightened interest in last-minute offers. Last year they sold around two million trips, and this year they are forecasting a similar result with one clear difference: holidays in Europe will play a bigger role.