WITH Spring on the horizon and Easter only a few weeks away, many people have started planning where and when to jet off on their summer getaways.
Travel agents in the upper Calder Valley have been helping holidaymakers book trips to a wide range of destinations.
Johanna Bullas, manager at Althams Travel on Halifax Road, Todmorden, said the Canary Islands are always a popular winter escape, but other destinations are also proving attractive to holidaymakers.
“We’ve done quite a few bookings for Gambia,” she said. “It’s very economical when they get there. It’s a good alternative to the Canaries in winter.
“The absolute bargain at the moment are the city breaks - two or three nights in European destinations such as Prague and Budapest.
“The offers are very reasonable - just over £100 with flights included. That’s fantastic value.”
Johanna, who has worked at the company for 25 years, said snow conditions for skiing are very good this year, resulting in bookings to good value destinations like Bulgaria and Andorra.
All inclusive packages are proving very popular. “They help people to budget better,” she said.
Cruise bookings are up on last year. “Once people go on a cruise, they will re-book,” she said.
“It’s a very good return market.”
Interest is also growing in more exotic destinations. “People are much more adventurous nowadays,” she said.
“Over the last couple of years, Burma has just opened up and we have had a few queries about that.
“There will be a big market for multi-centre stays in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
“We always have a steady stream for Australia. We often have people going for a holiday of a lifetime.
“We can tailor make any trip for anybody anywhere in the world.
“The world’s a big place. Let’s explore it.”
At Benchmark Travel, Top Land Country Business Park, Cragg Vale, staff are finding that holidaymakers are opting to go to Cape Verde, Egypt, Morocco and Gambia as residents are trying to seek the maximum adventure for the best value possible.
Roger Benn, from Benchmark Travel, said: “People are either going long haul on their trips of a lifetime or they want to see better value for their money by going to places like Morocco, Cape Verde or Madeira.
“We think people are taking more holidays. We have been trading for six years and our regular clients are now booking one or two more holidays a year.
“People are trying to find that extra value for money for their holiday, but are also looking for something different. They seem to be fed up of the busy beaches and the all inclusive packages.”
Roger also said that he thinks people will be staying away from Europe this summer.
“For your family holidays people want more inclusive holiday villa type holidays. But, instead of the holiday village being Butlins, they want to do it in Turkey or Egypt,” he said.
At Whitesands Travel, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd, staff said that people are avoiding Europe in the early part of 2012 as they look to get more value for money in countries that don’t use the Euro currency.
Victoria Rigg, from Whitesands Travel, said: “We are finding that people are looking for alternative destinations. I think people are staying away from destinations that have the Euro because the exchange rate is not very good at the moment.
“We’ve found that people are going to Morocco because it has lots of culture and also Cape Verde because it is really up and coming.
“Cape Verde is not commercialised and it’s a lot cheaper and faster to get to than the Caribbean.”
Looking forward to the summer, Victoria said she would recommend families look at Mallorca as a destination as it has something for everybody.
“Mallorca suits everybody’s tastes and needs. Whether you’re looking for a holiday full of activities, lots of bars and restaurants or a luxury property in a quiet resort,” she said.
For more information about Whitesands Travel call 01422 893660, for Benchmark Travel call 01422 847847 and for Althams Travel call 01706 812191.
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