Increased energy bills, sky-high fuel prices and talk of a recession aren't good news for the purse strings this summer.
But it appears that holidaymakers aren't being deterred.
According to travel giant TUI Travel, which owns U.K. tour operators Thomson and First Choice (following a merger last year), people are still booking their summer trips. The company has said that summer sales over the past six weeks have remained strong with an 8 percent increase on this time last year.
Fears of winter blues have also been quashed with sales for Winter 2008/2009 seeing a boost of 15 percent.
TUI's chief executive Peter Long attempted to install a positive outlook in the public and said "We see no evidence of deteriorating consumer sentiment in our booking patterns." Long also said the annual holiday is an important component of the family budget.
Cruise Critic readers agree that a holiday (a cruise in particular) is a priority when planning your spending throughout the year. In a recent Members Speak Out survey on cruising in 2008, we polled about 100 readers to find out if your plans would be impacted by the talk of a global recession. More than 50 percent of respondents said their plans remained unchanged -- and a third claimed nothing would stop them from taking a holiday.
"[I] enjoyed my first cruise last year so much," one reader said, "no economic downturn will stop me this year." Another agreed, saying, "I had already booked -- in retrospect, cancelling would have been financially more sensible, but I'm not missing my holiday."
That doesn't mean, however, that travellers aren't trying different ways to save the pennies -- readers shared their top tactics for leaving a bit of extra cash in the bank, including booking a cheaper category cabin and travelling during the shoulder season.
--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor
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Bills are Increasing, but Holidays are Still a Must!
May 15, 2008