Jet2holidays sees a return to favourite haunts

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HOLIDAYMAKERS are returning to traditional destinations such as Spain and the Canaries instead of more exotic places such as Tunisia and Sharm El Sheikh, according to package holiday specialist Jet2holidays.

As the Leeds Bradford airport based company celebrated its fifth birthday this week, the group said customers are returning to places they feel they can trust.

Jet2holidays’ commercial director Steve Lee said: “Customers are going back to where they know, where they feel safe.

“Problems in the Middle East and Africa have made the Western Mediterranean increasingly popular, with Spain seeing a resurgence.”

He added that part of Spain’s appeal is value for money, quoting a recent Post Office survey which revealed Spain to be the second cheapest holiday destination after Sri Lanka.

“In the current economic climate people want a great value destination that is closer to home,” said Mr Lee.

In addition to picking cheaper destinations, more holidaymakers are choosing all-inclusive packages.

“This summer 60 per cent of our customers are opting for all-inclusive holidays. It offers comfort in knowing what you’ve spent rather,” said Mr Lee.

Spanish destinations make up four of Jet2holidays’ top 10 destinations, including number one Majorca, number two Costa Blanca, number five Ibiza and number nine Costa del Sol.

The Canaries are also very popular, particularly for winter holidays, with Tenerife coming in at number three, Lanzarote at number seven and Gran Canaria at number ten.

The Algarve in Portugal was number four, Turkey was number six and Cyprus was number eight.

“Turkey and Cyprus are increasingly popular, especially with the strengthening of the pound,” said Mr Lee.

The group now has eight bases in the North, Scotland and Ireland, at Leeds Bradford, Belfast, Newcastle, Manchester, East Midlands, Blackpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

No further bases are planned. Instead Jet2holidays wants to consolidate and build on its eight existing bases.

Mr Lee said that 50 per cent of the UK population now has access to Jet2holidays.

“We have grown from being a Yorkshire brand to a Northern brand,” he said.

The group saw record January bookings, which it put down to word of mouth recommendations.

“This is a brand customers can trust and with us they can save £50 or £100,” said Mr Lee. “People don’t want to save money and then have a four-hour transfer or save money and end up on the 52nd floor overlooking a building site.”

n Shareholders piled pressure on tour operator Thomas Cook yesterday as it reported wider losses of £151.7m for the three months to December 31.

Some investors asked how the company plans to restore its reputation after recent financial troubles sparked fear of collapse.