Thomas Cook puts up summer holiday prices

Aims to move more upmarket as costs in Spain rise

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Thomas Cook is putting up the prices of its 2017 summer package holidays by an average of 9%.

The company says that with many holidaymakers nervous about destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, tourists are increasingly flocking to Spain, particularly Majorca and the Canary Islands.

As a result, it says, Spanish hotels have put up their prices - and it's simply passing those costs on.

"In this context, and consistent with our strategy, we have taken a deliberate decision to focus on higher margin, quality holidays, rather than chase volume growth," says the firm.

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It's planning to focus more on Greece as a destination, it says. Last year, just 500,000 visited the country, with many people concerned about the large numbers of people passing through the country.

This year, though, the company says it expects 2.5 million people to holiday there. There's also strong demand for destinations such as Cyprus, Bulgaria, Portugal and Croatia, it says, and some people are starting to return to Hurghada in Egypt.

As for long-haul, says Thomas Cook, the most popular destinations are Cuba and Mexico, with fewer people choosing to visit Florida than last year.

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But while Thomas Cook's package prices are going up, flight-only costs may be set for a fall. Earlier this week, Ryanair said it had dropped prices by 17% in the last three months of last year, and was expecting to cut them still further.

A recent survey from Post Office Holiday Money found that Portugal should be the cheapest holiday destination in the world for Britons this year, followed by Bulgaria's Sunny Beach.

Spain's Costa del Sol was third, with Marmaris in Turkey and the Czech Republic making up the rest of the top five.

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With the pound down, it's more important to consider local costs when budgeting for a holiday, says Post Office Travel Money's Andrew Brown.

"Holidaymakers can do little about sterling's value but they can do their homework and plan trips to resorts or cities where prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples are low," he says.

And anybody planning a trip this summer should think carefully about when they change their money: the pound is likely to experience a rollercoaster over the next few months, so check rates before you buy.

Holiday of a lifetime

Holiday of a lifetime