Caribtours is hoping that an “incredibly busy” pre-Christmas period will continue during the key booking period of January.
The luxury tour operator has launched a January sales campaign for both agents and consumers, as well as offering incentives for the trade.
Paul Cleary, managing director, said the “usually quiet week” before Christmas had been “incredibly busy” and had helped the independent operator to already be £1 million ahead year-on-year for 2018 departures.
“It should normally be a week where people are thinking about Christmas but those 10 days were incredibly busy,” Cleary said.
"It was also steady between Christmas and new year. Bookings were at levels we had not been expecting and we also had a lot of sales in the first week of January. The signs are encouraging, although it’s still very early days.”
Cleary added that most bookings over the last few weeks had been for February half-term and Easter holiday periods. He expected more enquiries for Christmas 2018 to start coming in this week.
“We have done a lot of Barbados so far,” said Cleary. “Mauritius has also done well and European summer business has been good – particularly to Greece which has been really flying for summer 2018."
“The Virgin Islands, Dominica and Anguilla are still off-sale, but people are going elsewhere with so much airline capacity into the Caribbean”
“We get a lot of bookings for Halkidiki because of the sheer quality of its resorts. Crete and Corfu have sold very well, along with Cyprus, Sicily and Sardinia.”
Cleary said Caribtours continued to be affected by the aftermath of the severe hurricanes that hit several areas of the Caribbean in autumn 2017.
“The Virgin Islands, Dominica and Anguilla are still off-sale, but people are going elsewhere with so much airline capacity into the Caribbean,” he added.
“The islands are all moving at different speeds but we hope they will all be back on sale by the end of the year.”
Caribtours will run its September Solos programme at the BodyHoliday resort in St Lucia for the third year this September, where it books out the property for four weeks for around 1,000 single travellers.
“Single travellers want to be able to enjoy the Caribbean and be with like-minded people,” explained Cleary, who said this concept could be extended to other destinations.
Caribtours’ January sales incentives for agents include the chance to win a one-week holiday to Carlisle Bay in Antigua, while agents booking any 2018 holiday can earn up to £200 in vouchers dependent on booking value, as well as extra rewards for booking British Airways flights.
All bookings must be for a minimum of seven nights including flights for two adults. Agents should email firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28 with details.