Winter sun holidaymakers will be hard-pressed to find better value than on a package holiday to Egypt, according to Hayes & Jarvis. In the operator’s first quarterly Package Price Index comparing the lowest available prices in leading long-haul destinations, Egypt proved the runaway winner for holidays based on both all-inclusive and bed-and-breakfast accommodation.As an example of prices, a one-week package including breakfast in a four-star property to Sharm el Sheikh in November costs £599 per person, half the price of a similar deal in mid-haul competitor Dubai (£1,199 per person). The same applies to a week’s all-inclusive in November where the Dubai price of £1,649 per person at the four-star plus Jebel Ali Resort is 60% higher than in Sharm el Sheikh, where the package price for a resort hotel with the same rating is £649 per person at the Jaz Mirabel Club.
Despite the higher price for Dubai, which was the most expensive destination in both the all-inclusive and bed-and-breakfast Package Prices Indexes, this still offers a 25-26% saving on previously published prices, suggesting, according to the company's worldwide programme director, Lesley Rollo, “that hoteliers and airlines are keen to offer incentives that will boost their winter sun business. We have also seen some instances where this season’s packages are priced below 2009 levels.”
The winter sun savings available are most evident in the all-inclusive Package Price Index, where reductions for November travel can be as high as 40%. In Mauritius, for example, a one week package at the four-star Tamassa resort has been slashed by £800 to £1,199 per person.
Some of the biggest savings – 39% for Antigua - relate to the Caribbean Islands, “possibly because of concerns that the impending hike in Air Passenger Duty (APD) this November will make the region less attractive to British visitors,” said Rollo. “Antigua topped our fastest growing destinations chart this summer, with bookings up 130% in May and June and, with headline-grabbing discounts still available, we have seen no sign of a drop off in bookings for this and other Caribbean destinations.”
Meanwhile, savvy travellers who do their homework may also find that some package holidays are cheaper this year than 12 months ago. The operator cites the example of a 19% year-on-year drop in the price of a seven-night Christmas holiday to Mexico - £1,609 per person compared with £1,985 last year – and a 15% reduction in an October Thailand holiday, where a ten-night breakfast package at the four-star plus Evason Hua Hin costs £599 per person this year compared with £705 12 months ago.