Tour operators slash prices to lure Britons away from World Cup and UK heatwave
British travellers could save hundreds of pounds on a last-minute summer holiday as tour operators struggle to lure people away from the World Cup fever gripping the UK.
A combination of England’s success in Russia 2018 – with the Three Lions due to take on Croatia in the semi-final on Wednesday – and an extended heatwave has seen a drop of interest in package getaways, prompting travel companies to slash prices.
“In terms of prices of holidays, there are some absolute bargains at the moment,” said Emma Coulthurst from cost comparison site TravelSupermarket. “Seven nights overseas’ package holidays for £260 per person are virtually unheard of in July but those are the prices that have been available last week and are available this week, too.”
Thomas Cook is currently offering seven nights’ bed and breakfast in Bodrum, Turkey, with flights departing from Manchester next week, for £250 per person, as well as seven nights’ self-catering in Crete, for £269 per person, departing from Glasgow. Even Spain, the most popular holiday destination for Britons, has deals, including seven nights’ self catering in Gran Canaria, from £333 per person.
A seven-night trip to Kavos with Love Holidays is currently being offered for £191 per person, flying from Birmingham, while Tui has reduced some of its packages, including a week in Marmaris, Turkey, by more than 50 per cent from £562 per person to £209 per person, depending on airport of departure, leaving next Saturday. Jet2 Holidays is offering a number of seven-night trips, with flights, for less than £300 per person.
Coulthurst said some of the best prices are to be found departing from non-London airports: “Competition between airports in the north has meant a lowering of prices.”
She is expecting a surge in holiday searches next week after the World Cup is over, and with temperatures set to fall across the country.
“We saw a drop in people searching for package holiday prices for the week ending July 1, compared with the same week last year,” she said. “Whenever England are in a tournament, we see people putting off their holiday plans.”
Jamie Rollo, a leisure analyst for Morgan Stanley, told investors in a market update: “We spoke to a number of UK tour operators this week, and the consensus was that overseas holiday bookings have weakened in the last few weeks.
“This was put down to a combination of the weather, following the longest heatwave since 1976 and June being the driest month on record, and the World Cup.”
One destination that has experienced a boom is Russia, with Moscow the most searched city break destination for departures this week, according to data from TravelSupermarket.
With England now guaranteed to play in either the Russian capital or St Petersburg this weekend – in the final on Sunday, for the former, or third place play-off on Saturday for the latter – flights are selling at a premium.
Skyscanner shows no available direct flights from London to Moscow, departing Friday and returning Monday, with the cheapest options a £556 fare via Warsaw.
British Airways, which operates thrice daily flights to the Russia capital, had economy, hand luggage-only fares from £187, departing Wednesday, but prices rising to £913 for Saturday flights. The airline is operating its larger 777 aircraft on the route.