DOLLAR’S STRENGTH AGAINST EURO AMONG FACTORS CITED
USTOA survey finds ’09 prices averaging 20% below 2008’s
By Michelle Baran
Tour operators’ 2009 prices dropped an
average of 20% compared with 2008,
according to a recent survey by the U.S.
Tour Operators Association.
In the survey, conducted in late April,
22 USTOA member operators were asked
to compare 2009 package prices with prices for similar 2008 packages.
The results revealed discounts ranging
from 10% to more than 50% for the same
vacation when compared with last year,
the USTOA reported.
“In countries as diverse as Greece,
Egypt, South Africa, Australia and Italy,
the U.S. dollar has gained in strength,
while domestic destinations like Hawaii
are offering good deals in response to a
soft tourism year,” stated USTOA President Bob Whitley.
THERE ARE MORE
IN FLORIDA THAN
The major factors affecting pricing
have been the strengthening dollar, which
is currently hovering at just under 1. 40
euros, compared with 1. 60 euros a year
ago. In addition, oil prices have softened
since last year, and hard-hit suppliers
are negotiating more favorable rates and
conditions with tour
them, for instance,
to nix the single
supplement for solo
finalizing their 2010
pricing in the com-ing months, early indicators suggest that
trend will likely continue at least into
the early months of next year, though not
necessarily with the same aggressiveness.
For 2010, “the indications that we have
right now, we’re seeing early group pricing down 10% for the [European] continent and Ireland, and [down as much as]
20% on the U.K.,” said Jennifer Halboth,
director of marketing at the Globus family of brands.
As examples, she cited Globus’ seven-night British Winter Sampler for the
2009-2010 season, priced at $749, per person, land only. That’s a 17% decrease for
the same itinerary in 2008-2009. She also
cited the French Winter Sampler, which is
“Because we’ve got a good-news story
now, the time [to sell Europe] is now,”
Americans’ ongoing “love affair” with
Europe, she said, has created pent-up demand that, as it begins to rebound, might
push prices back up. But not for the foreseeable future.
“It’s not like we’re going to turn around
every month and adjust our pricing,” Halboth said. “It takes pretty wild swings for
us to do something that would negatively
We’ll steer you away from the tacky, and towards
the authentic. From Mickey Mouse to Miami Beach,
ARC MarketPlace has Florida covered.
‘Because we’ve got a good-
news story now, the time to
sell Europe is now.’
— Jennifer Halboth, Globus director
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Halboth said she didn’t know of any
destinations Globus sells where prices
The USTOA member survey was released less than one month after the association presented the results of a consumer
survey, which revealed that of the 1,000
people interviewed by TNS Research, 36%
said the most important consideration
when planning a vacation was affordabil-ity. Twenty percent cited time with family,
and 17% said the destination was the most