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'Now is the time to book your Summer holiday', says Wittering Travel Counsellor Emma Savage

As you read this, I shall probably be beavering away in my office, helping customers with their next holiday. Many of these will be summer holidays, as traditionally, January is a busy time for booking ahead for summer breaks.

The New Year is always a good time to take stock and reflect on last year. There’s no doubt that 2019 was a difficult year for the travel industry and as a result, I think 2020 will be a very different market. The Brexit uncertainty was ongoing which had an effect on consumer confidence and our appetite for booking holidays, in my opinion. There was the sad collapse of Thomas Cook, in September, which devastated the travel industry; it had a knock-on effect for a huge number of people who were reliant on the company for a job and also for its vast network of suppliers; such as hotels all around the Med who suddenly found themselves with a near empty hotel and bills left unpaid. It left Thomas Cook’s biggest competitor, TUI and other operators such as Jet2 to plug the gap. Many of Thomas Cook’s old slots at airports were snapped up and fortunately for the hotels overseas, they were swiftly signed up to contracts with Thomas Cook’s former competitors.

In theory then, with other tour operators picking up where Thomas Cook left off, everything should stay the same, you might think? I’m not so sure. So, what does this mean for holidays in 2020? Here’s what I think. Those who book early will benefit from better prices and wider choice. Nothing new there, I say that every year. However, the difference this time is that there are less operators competing for the same package destinations; so I think there will be less discounting and price wars this summer. Tour operators these days are careful not to over commit themselves to seats and beds, so there will be less frantic selling off of unsold holidays in the traditional ‘lates’ market in late Spring.

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