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First Surcharges For 20 Years Hit British Tourists

Jun 28, 2008
British holidaymakers used to be in the habit of booking their summer holidays just after Christmas, and paying a travel agent a deposit and then have agreed instalments so the holiday would be paid before setting off for the airport.

Everyone was happy, the travel agent knew he would have money coming in, and the holidaymaker could budget for their annual getaway.

But when the late 1980's recession kicked in, the traditional relationship between travel agent and holidaymaker took a bit of a hit as tour operators started adding surcharges to the overall bill.

And now, twenty years later, the dreaded surcharges have come back. But oddly, despite the internet and much more independent travel booking, a large section of the British population still book their holidays in January and February - before the surcharges were introduced on this summer's holidays.

The surcharges being imposed by some tour operators is put down directly to the high cost of oil on the world markets, with aviation fuel rising in price spectacularly.

In 2007 the overall cost of a holiday was made up of between 15 and 20 per cent by the cost of fuel when the holiday involved a flight - now it is thirty to forty per cent, something the tour operators say they could not foresee when setting the prices of holidays for their 2008 brochures.

Tour operators have to absorb the first two per cent of any increase in a holiday price themselves, but after that can charge up to ten per cent extra of the holiday price to the consumer.

So far it is really only small independent and niche travel companies who have implemented a surcharge, but there is a worry that if oil - and subsequently aviation fuel - costs increase the mainstream players will have to introduce a surcharge too, hitting millions of tourists who booked their summer holidays at the turn of the year.

'With a family hliday costing typically between 1500 and 2000 pounds, a ten per cent surcharge is quite a significant sume of money for many people', say one British company who have travel internet sites, 'And with the British currency doing poorly against the Euro it could mean that the extra money will come out of the family spending money, meaning the resorts tourist shops, bars and restuarants will notice less money coming from the average British tourist this year.'

Areas favoured by British holidaymakers who could see a decline in the amount of holiday money spent this year includes top favourite Majorca.

Majorca is the largest island off the coast of Spain. It is a part of the Balearic Islands Archipelago, along with famed party destination Ibiza, Minorca and Formentera. It is a hub of tourism due to its picturesque beauty and exciting nightlife.

The island also boasts some of the best food in the world. In 2005, the island reported 2,400 unique restaurants, according to the Mallorcan Tourist Board. That's quite a bit of dining diversity for an island that covers 3,640 square kilometers.

Next year's report on how much British tourists spent on the island compared to 2007 will make interesting reading for the holidays industry.
About the Author
For holiday information about Majorca, including holiday companies who offer late deal cheap holidays in Majorca visit http://www.yourmajorca.net/
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