Trade confident general election won’t affect holiday bookings

The prime minister’s decision to call a general election on July 4 will have little or no bearing on late sales or spend thanks to strong consumer demand, members of the trade said this week.

But cruise lines at last week’s Clia Conference in Southampton highlighted a change of government would mean travel firms having to create new political relationships, which would “take time”.

Rishi Sunak made the surprise announcement of a snap election instead of an expected autumn poll after inflation in April dropped to its lowest rate for almost three years.


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The election will fall during the main school holidays in Scotland and Northern Ireland and during major sporting events including the Uefa European Football Championship and Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Barrhead Travel president Jacqueline Dobson stressed the election was unlikely to undermine bookings.

“The industry has seen from past experience that general elections can cause some short-term slowdown – mostly because people turn their attention to it during the week prior,” she said.

“However, demand for travel is so high this year that impact should be minimal.”

Sunak’s announcement also brought certainty to the market despite the clash with the Scottish break, Dobson said.

“For Scotland, school holidays will be in full swing,” she added.

Demand for travel is so high this year that the impact of the general election should be minimal

“There’s already a lot of dialogue across news outlets as well as from individual parties to remind people how to use the postal vote.”

Other Scottish agents agreed. “Postal votes have been a norm in recent years,” said Jimmy Martin Travel owner Jimmy Martin, who predicted: “If prices are cheaper [to travel] on July 4 [election day], people will book.”

Love to Travel owner Joanne Dooey added: “People in Scotland are fed up with politics and will not let this affect their holiday.

“We haven’t had customers looking to amend.”

Hays Travel said it was taking a ‘business as usual’ approach, adding that sales continued to be buoyant for the main school holidays.

Head of strategy Lisa McAuley reiterated: “People have the option to vote by post.”

Kelly Cookes, chief commercial officer of The Advantage Travel Partnership, suggested the election might in fact spur travel. She said: “Late bookings continue to be strong and the announcement of the UK election could be just another reason why Brits are keen to get away.”

Greenstar Travel owner Martyn Fisher, who will himself vote by post as he will be abroad, said: “I don’t think the election will have much bearing on proceedings [but] if the weather continues as it is, a few people will throw caution to the wind and go on holiday.”

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