Ask the traveller: Holiday bargains
Wednesday 13 April 2011
Q: Are there any deals at the moment, given the twitchiness resulting from the Arab spring uprisings? There must be bargains for the brave.
"Peggy Sue", via email
An excellent candidate is Tunisia. Despite the mass evacuation of holidaymakers in January and the country temporarily appearing on the Foreign Office danger list, normality quickly returned. Tour operators and airlines have not made dramatic cuts in capacity, which means that there is still plenty of supply. Meanwhile, the turmoil in neighbouring Libya has not affected the main tourist destinations. In addition, Air Passenger Duty is only £12 per person (compared with £60 to Egypt). Short breaks to Tunis and Carthage, beach holidays to resorts such as Sousse and Hammamet, and explorations of the desert and the Islamic heritage are all tempting options.
Morocco is also a good prospect. Some tour operators had already planned increased numbers of package holidays this year, particularly to the resort of Agadir.
But the best value is likely to be found on "DIY" holidays, taking advantage of the massive fares war that has broken out between London and the exotic city of Marrakech. This summer British Airways and BMI both decided to launch flights in competition against easyJet, Ryanair and Royal Air Maroc.
For the second week of May, for example, Ryanair has been offering fares as low as £64 return between Luton and Marrakech. New highways to the coast mean you can easily combine the city with a seaside stay either in Agadir or the beautiful resort of Essaouira.
Elsewhere, bargains are hard to find. In Egypt, prices haven't fallen significantly because flights have been cut drastically – British Airways and Jet2 have both stopped flying to Sharm El Sheikh.
And demand for destinations perceived as "safe", such as Spain, Portugal and Greece, is rising sharply, with fares and package prices rising accordingly.
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