Package providers are cutting their prices to stimulate peaks sales, with trips to some destinations being sold at less than half the price they were a year ago, new research has revealed.
A study by TravelSupermarket of price comparison searches dating from 1-18 January for departures between 1 May and 31 October across a variety of destinations returned prices ranging from less than 10% difference year-on-year to more than 50% lower than they were during the same period last year.
The most popular summer 2021 seven-night holiday search was for Crete, where average package holiday prices are 10% lower than they were last January.
Tenerife was the next most popular, down 13%, followed by Majorca, down 9%. The biggest year-on-year difference (54%) was for holidays to Portugal’s Algarve.
"The Brazilian variant [of Covid], which is also affecting Portugal, will not have helped demand," said TravelSupermarket’s Emma Coulthurst.
"A stymying of demand may be the reason for such a significant price drop for holidays there from the UK to encourage bookings. Portugal’s economy relies heavily on the UK tourism pound."
TravelSupermarket found all-inclusive seven-night summer 2021 package holidays to the Mediterranean starting from less than £150pp, with Corfu, Crete, the Costa Dorada, the Costa Brava and Bodrum offering the best value.
For those looking to self-cater, TravelSupermarket said the best value destinations were Corfu, the Costa Brava, Malta, Majorca and the Algarve.
May, June and July are currently the most popular months, with long-haul intent picking up from September onwards.
The Maldives (third), Dubai (fifth) and Barbados (sixth) all feature in the price comparison site’s most popular package holiday searches dating from 1-18 January, with six of the top 10 most searched for destinations being islands.
"My guess as to why the Maldives, Dubai and Barbados are in the top ten is [that] they have been very open and encouraging of British visitors before the current travel restrictions, had travel corridors in place, and also remained virtually Covid-free," said Coulthurst.
"I don’t think it is a coincidence six of the destinations on the list are islands, many of which have seen low virus incidence."