Europe will be cheaper this year than last – particularly in Greece, Portugal and Italy – but still surcharges persist. Not at Sunvil Holidays, though, as this guest blog by its Managing Director, Noel Josephides, explains:
The pound is strengthening against the euro, yet it seems some tour operators are levying surcharges. Part of the problem seems to be the fact that the dollar is strengthening and fuel prices remain high, which represents a double whammy, as fuel is paid for in dollars.
Sunvil has traditionally hedged both its fuel and currency requirements and to do this we have to put up cash collateral of between £350,000 and £400,000. I can’t remember when we last surcharged, but it was probably during the first oil crisis back in the late 1980s.
2012 will be no exception. We had already anticipated the increase in European Air Passenger Duty (APD) and also the effects on seat rates as a result of the introduction of the carbon emissions trading scheme for airlines from 1 January 2012. Once our clients have booked, then they can be certain that there will be no surcharges on their holiday.
But, because of the crisis in the Eurozone, the chances are that the euro will remain weak and so this is the year in which to visit Italy, Greece and Portugal. Currently, sterling is trading at around €1.2 / 1.21 against the euro, while for the whole of last year it was about €1.15. This is an improvement of approximately 5%. Not only that, but in all three countries, local prices have either remained static or have fallen because of recession.
All in all, provided that the status quo continues (and who can be certain of anything these days?!) Europe will be cheaper this year than last, and countries like Greece, Portugal and Italy will be anxious to please, as tourism is vital for their economies.
If the organisation you book with – whether it’s an airline, a tour operator or a web-based company – doesn’t guarantee that they won’t surcharge once you’ve paid for your holiday, then why book with them? Surcharges mean that they either haven’t planned forward or that they are boosting their profits at your expense!