Travel firms gearing up for busiest booking weekend since pre-pandemic

Simon Calder on cheap holiday options for 2023

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They are predicting the busiest weekend since the start of the pandemic, with Sunday tipped to be the big day for 2023 bookings.

Experts said the lack of Covid restrictions, and a need to escape strikes and crisis has fuelled the boom.

Despite ongoing pressures on finances, Mark Tanzer, CEO of travel industry trade body Abta, said “people’s appetite for holiday taking has remained remarkably resilient”.

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook Holidays said: “Bookings are higher than they’ve been for the past two years. As payday arrives more customers will book the holidays they’ve been researching, making the last week of January another record-breaker.”

Zoe Harris, chief customer officer at On the Beach, said: “We’re expecting bumper bookings this weekend. Sunday will be the big day, but we’re also seeing a shift post-Covid on people booking on a Friday.

“Friday is now a work-from-home day for most and it seems many are taking advantage of this.”

According to its research, despite the cost-of-living squeeze, customers are not prepared to give up their holidays. Turkey is proving popular, as well as the Greek islands and Dubai.

Ms Harris added: “We’re actually seeing a rise in the number of people booking all-inclusive as customers start to get savvy with their money.”

Average spending per holiday was £3,104 in the second week of January, up about five percent on last year, according to the Advantage Travel Partnership. expects to see a boost of 15-30 percent in comparison with the average volumes in January. It said Spain remained the most popular destination, with Tenerife and Majorca as star performers, followed by Malta and the Algarve.

Some of the getaways on offer:

Beachcomber is offering a £466 discount on seven nights in Mauritius, staying at the Shandrani Beachcomber Resort & Spa. From £1,885pp all-inclusive, based on two sharing, for trips departing March 14 and booked by January 31, including return flights.’s Tenerife package includes flights and a week’s stay at the island’s Hard Rock Hotel, close to the lovely beach of Playa El Pinque. From £859pp, B&B, based on two sharing for trips departing on February 13, with return flights from London Stansted.

Cancun in Mexico is a fantastic winter sun destination. is offering a package to the Krystal Grand Cancun, which has daily performances by the in-house mariachi band. From £1,024pp for seven nights, room-only, based on two sharing, including return flights from London Heathrow, for trips departing November 4.

DialAFlight is currently offering a 10 percent discount on a three-night Singapore break. From £1,125pp, room-only, at The Warehouse Hotel. It is based on two sharing, including return flights from Heathrow, for trips departing between now and March 31.

Travel Republic has slashed the cost of certain departures to the fivestar Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah by 55 percent. From £1,094pp for five nights, half-board, based on two sharing, for trips departing May 4 and booked in January, including return flights from Heathrow.

The travel firm is also offering 25 percent off seven nights at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. It is one of Egypt’s top diving spots with a wide range of bars and restaurants. From £662pp all-inclusive at the five-star Serenity Fun City, based on two adults and two children, for trips departing July 17, with return flights from London Gatwick.

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