Thomson launches no-frills package deals

TRAVEL TRADE: As one firm starts offering holidays from pounds 100, independent travellers look further afield for best destinations

THE HOLIDAY price war intensified yesterday as Britain's largest tour operator slashed its prices, offering packages for pounds 100.

Thomson Holidays, which is suffering diminished profits and disappointing millennium sales, launched its range of no frills holidays called "Just". The budget brand offers customers the "real essentials" of a flight and hotel room. "Unnecessary extras" such as food on the flight, transfers from airport to resort, and tour guides must be paid for on top of the package.

"It's a reduced holiday package, but not an inferior one," said Shaun Powell, deputy managing director of Thomson. "It's for people who only want the bare essentials - just a flight, just a room, just a beach."

The concept was inspired by the success of easyJet and British Airway's carrier, Go, which offer basic flights without food or in-flight entertainment. But Jeremy Skidmore, editor of Travel Weekly, said yesterday he doubted the concept would work for holidays. "You're going to end up paying extra for just about everything except flight and hotel room," he said.

"You may not realise it, but you get an awful lot for your money when you buy a package holiday. If people think they are getting an all-in package holiday with `Just' they are sorely mistaken. This is not a package holiday as we know it."

Mr Skidmore emphasised that flight supplements mean what may appear like a pounds 100 holiday could end up costing double. "If you fly from airports in Scotland or Northern Ireland on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday between 5am and 7pm you have to pay a pounds 80 supplement. That's a sizeable increase on what looks like a very cheap holiday."

Should the "Just" holidays prove successful, he said they were still not a solution to Thomson's present problems. The company has issued two profit warnings in two months following a dire half-year performance which led the City to revise its year-end profit forecast from pounds 110m to pounds 85m.

Keith Betton, head of corporate affairs at the Association of British Travel Agents , said the new brand signalled a return to the price wars of last decade.

"One of the problems in the 1980s was that there were very cheap holidays, but they were not backed up with quality," he said.

The millennium is not proving to be the goldmine that travel companies had hoped. "Demand for short-haul destinations has not lived up to expectation," Mr Betton said. "All the travel companies are trying to build in a bit of extra profit, but in reality the demand does not really justify it."

After an initial rush for Thomson's millennium packages, which were launched 14 months ago, interest died down. "The millennium holidays sold exceptionally well initially," he said. "Then there was so much hype that the vast majority of people thought there was nothing left. We need to get people to realise that they can still go."

t Most adults in Britain are still undecided as to whether they will do something special to mark the dawn of the new millennium, according to a survey published yesterday.

Only one in 10 of the 1,000 adults polled by NOP said they intended to visit either a pub, club, restaurant, show, or take a holiday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
The RBS Six Nations trophy at the Aviva Stadium ahead of Ireland vs England
rugby
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?