First Choice will only offer 'all inclusive' holidays from next summer

Katy Holland

First Choice is to make all of its holidays all inclusive from next summer, making it the first UK mainstream holiday company to specialise exclusively in the field.

The new all-inclusive deals can be booked from May this year, with the company saying that holidaymakers can 'leave their wallets at home'.

The bold move is being taken in a bid to cut costs, but also because the vast majority of its customers - 65 per cent - already book all inclusive option with the company.

Booking an 'all inclusive' package with First Choice means that flights, in-resort transfers, hotel accommodation, three meals a day and unlimited local drinks are included as standard.

The company claims that this is are the best option for budget-conscious UK holidaymakers. It says that a 'price test' showed that a typical family can save up to £500 per week by taking the all-in option, when meals, drinks, snacks and entertainment was taken into account.

But the move is a bold step in the light of holiday trends over the past decade, which has seen many holidaymaker preferring to 'building their own' holiday, made easier by the growth of low-cost airlines and the internet.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the package holiday slipped to 17.9million last year. In 2002, this figure was 20.6m.

However, despite this drop in figures, two types of packages - all-inclusive and cruise holidays - have bucked this trend, and First Choice says its research shows that demand for all-inclusive holidays has grown by 32% in five years.

'There is no mainstream holiday company currently offering a completely all-inclusive portfolio,' Johan Lundgren, managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, the parent company of First Choice, said.
Asked if the change would mean a rise in the price of holidays, a First Choice spokeswoman said: 'No, prices will remain as competitive as ever.'

All-inclusive holidays account for 65% of First Choice sales at present, with this particular market having grown 32% between 2004 and 2009.

Johan Lundgren, the UK and Ireland managing director of First Choice's parent company, Tui, said: "This is a major milestone for the UK travel industry and an exciting and timely transformation for the First Choice brand.

'All inclusive is becoming the holiday of choice for many British consumers, offering them great value for money, yet there is no mainstream holiday company currently offering a completely all-inclusive portfolio.

''People can leave their wallets at home and relax: they won't have to worry about spending money when they're abroad.'

However, critics have said that all-inclusive holidays are detrimental to a positive holiday experience because it encourages holidaymakers to spend their whole time in the hotel complex. This also has an impact on local economies, which rely on tourists spending money in restaurants and shops.

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