Holidaymakers preparing to book their summer break are being warned to avoid major price hikes at some of the top and most popular destinations favoured by UK travellers in recent years.Turkey, Egypt and the US could cost on average up to £149 more per person this year, according to a study of more than 200,000 holidays by The Co-operative Travel.
In contrast, the company reports that Western Mediterranean resorts in Spain and Portugal are showing a fall in prices compared to last year, with the Algarve £96 cheaper on average for a family of four.
The operator's managing director, Mike Greenacre, said: "Resorts in Turkey and Egypt have seen a massive influx of UK holidaymakers in recent years, tempted by the exceptional value for money, all inclusive concept and guaranteed sunshine.
"However, it's clear from our research that these resorts are now looking to maximise on this recent popularity, with the average price per person up significantly in Turkey (a rise of £94) and Egypt (a rise of £54). We have implored the Turkish tourist authorities to persuade hotels and resorts to think twice about such increases in these challenging times
"In addition we're seeing major price rises in the US (an average rise of £149 per person) and Mexico (up £43), which we are attributing to the significant increases in air passenger duty (APD) introduced last November. Here again we have been demanding that the Government halts the severe increases in APD pricing. In any event with a little more planning, particularly for long-haul destinations, these increases can be legitimately avoided.
"With the right knowledge and time there are still great value for money packages out there for these resorts, particularly Turkey but we feel you will need some advice from a travel professional to find them."
Greenacre's advice to agents, to pass on to cost-conscious travellers, is to suggest a holiday in the Western Mediterranean as it offers come of the the best value, which is reflected in early bookings for resorts such as Mallorca and the Algarve.
He said: "This has been driven by Spain, in particular, investing in its resorts to increase the availability of all-inclusive breaks at more competitive prices and the Spanish Tourist authorities have recognised that they needed to be sending a message of being more competitive in resort.
"All-inclusive deals have grown hugely in popularity and have helped support the recent increase in holidaymakers to Egypt and Turkey. With this improved offer and cheaper prices, I expect Spain to show strong growth in Europe for summer 2011." Greenacre also believes that people will benefit from booking early.
He said: "Holidaymakers should make the most of early booking offers with major retailers; for example, despite prices to the US increasing, many retailers are offering cheap deals for the start of the main bookings season in January. For example, we have partnered with Virgin to offer family holidays to Florida and the Caribbean for as little as £499, less than half the average booking price shown by our research."