UK survey reveals boom in all-inclusive and package holiday sales

A survey in the UK has revealed that all-inclusive and package holidays are enjoying a surge in popularity as the main holiday season approaches.

The survey, which was carried out by GfK, an industry analyst, reported that all-inclusive holiday bookings are 14 percent higher this year than at the same time last year. This growth in popularity is believed to be due to the certainty with which this type of holiday can be budgeted for, as all food, drink and entertainment is included in the booking price. The lack of spending requirement also means that the exchange rate and security issues that are associated with taking large sums of cash abroad can also be considerably reduced for the traveller.

The need to contain holiday budgets in these times of downturn was also reflected in the growth of interest in shorter holidays, which saw a 22 percent increase in bookings for holidays of up to 6 days duration.

Package holiday and family holiday bookings are also showing a healthy upward trend, growing by 8 percent and 6 percent respectively, year-on-year. High street travel agents have also managed to buck the general trend towards online bookings in the early part of this year, registering a 2 percent growth compared with where they were this time last year.

According to GfK’s figures, one tourism sector that is currently suffering is the cruise industry. Bad press for cruise lines, including the Costa Concordia disaster and several high profile cases of ships being stranded at sea or passengers falling victim to viral epidemics, appear to have adversely influenced travellers, resulting in a reduction in year-on-year bookings by a sizeable 21 percent.

The survey also revealed that the destinations showing the best growth in bookings included Egypt, Tunisia, Menorca, Croatia and Teneriefe.

Travellers Often Pay Extra on All Inclusive Holidays

British holidaymakers opting for an all-inclusive vacation may be paying extra for amenities that were supposed to be covered under the package price.

The Post Office All Inclusive Holiday Report has questioned around 14 million holidaymakers worldwide to suggest that while all-inclusive packages are supposed to cater for all meals, often hotels only include some meals, and travellers find themselves having to pay for the rest.

The report highlights that around three-quarters of British holidaymakers have paid for extras on all-inclusive holidays, which they originally expected to have included in the package rates. The extra amenities often charged for by hotels and resorts, over and above the all-inclusive rates, include alcoholic and non-alcoholic liquor brands, wine by the bottle, bottled water, as well as Internet access and a la carte meals.

Around 88 percent of travellers opting for all-inclusive packages expected all meals to be included, while a survey of 40 hotels in 20 destinations globally has registered that only a third of the hotels actually covered all meals. While some cover buffet meals, many often charge extra for a la carte dining.

Around three million UK travellers have paid a total of £76.8 million extra for meal alternatives.

Andrew Brown, the head of travel money for Post Office Travel Insurance, a UK-based travel insurance company, said, ‘All Inclusive holidays are definitely on the increase, especially in Europe, which, according to our research, now accounts for two-thirds of All Inclusive trips by UK holidaymakers.

However, as the numbers rise, so do expectations and in almost every cost category that we looked at the All Inclusive offer made by hotels fell short of what holidaymakers expected.’

British holidaymakers warned of ‘visa traps’

British families travelling to long-haul destinations this half term have been warned that they could face substantial extra costs on arrival or departure from their destination. Costs they hadn’t bargained for, according to a new survey.


New research from the Post Office has revealed that compulsory tourist visas and taxes can set a family of four back as much as £145.


The US requires UK visitors to pay $14 (£9.27) for each ESTA visa, which needs to be purchased before travelling, allowing families to factor this into their holiday budget.


However some popular winter destinations collect payable visa and tourist tax charges on arrival or departure from the country.


Tourists in Antigua must pay £20 each in either Eastern Caribbean or US dollars before leaving the country. This means a family of four with children 12 and over must hand over £77.76 in foreign cash at the end of a holiday, when spending money may be limited.


Travellers have also been warned to be aware of hidden visa charges in holiday hotspots: Kenya, Turkey, Egypt and Mexico.


Families of four could be set back as much as £145 when visiting Mexico; the country charges tourists 700 pesos (£36.28) when leaving the country.


Sarah Munro, Head of Travel Money at the Post Office has said “families looking for a low-priced half-term holiday may get a nasty surprise if they have to pay tourist taxes on top”.


She added “This is likely to be particularly problematic for people who are on an all inclusive package, as they may not have budgeted to take foreign cash to cover the charge”.


“Unfortunately the issue of visas and tourist taxes is a confusing one and it can be difficult to find out what the charges are and how these have to be paid”.


Recommending that holidaymakers get in touch with their tour operator or airline to check whether their destination has tourist taxes, who must pay them and in what currency they need to be paid in.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

First Choice travel to go all-inclusive from 2012

The all-inclusive holiday has been revived as travellers try to keep to a tight budget. Going all-inclusive has become hugely popular due to the recession, as holiday makers keep the holiday spending to a minimum.

Now First Choice, one of the UK’s largest travel operators, has announced it will be embracing this trend and making all of its holidays all-inclusive from 2012. This leaves travellers to pay for their holiday and need little in the way of spending money when actually abroad. Everything from flights, to food and drink – including alcoholic beverages – are included

Johan Lundgren, the UK and Ireland managing director of First Choice’s parent company Tui said: ‘All-inclusive is becoming the holiday of choice for many British consumers, offering them great value for money, yet there is no mainstream holiday company currently offering a completely all-inclusive portfolio’.

He continued: ‘People can leave their wallets at home and relax – they won’t have to worry about spending money when they’re abroad’.

Promising to continue to offer highly competitive prices, First Choice have said families can expect to save around £500 by going all-inclusive rather than just bed and breakfast.

Growth in the all-inclusive market has been huge, rising 32 per cent in the last five years, which has lead to this change.

All-inclusive deals currently being offered on the First Choice website for travel in April include seven nights in the Algarve from £264 and four nights in Cyprus from £323.