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Package holidays: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A package holiday or package tour consists of transport and accommodation advertised and sold together by a vendor known as a tour operator. Other services may be provided like a rental car, activities or outings during the holiday. Transport can be via charter airline to a foreign country. Package holidays are a form of product bundling.

Package holidays are organised by a tour operator and sold to a consumer by a travel agent. Some travel agents are employees of tour operators, others are independent.

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Package tours

An early form of package holiday was organised by Thomas Cook in 1841, offering customers a return trip between Leicester and Loughborough. The first package tour of Europe was organised by Cook in 1855, and by 1872 he was undertaking world-wide tours, albeit with small groups.[1]

Vladimir Raitz, the co-founder of the Horizon Holiday Group, pioneered the first mass package holidays abroad with charter flights between Gatwick airport and Corsica in 1950, and organised the first package holiday to Palma in 1952, Lourdes in 1953, and the Costa Brava and Sardinia in 1954. In addition, the amendments made in Montreal to the Convention on International Civil Aviation on June 14, 1954 was very liberal to Spain, allowing impetus for mass tourism using charter planes.

By the late 1950s and 1960s, these cheap package holidays — which combined flight, transfers and accommodation — provided the first chance for most people in the United Kingdom to have affordable travel abroad. One of the first charter airlines was Euravia, which commenced flights from Manchester Airport in 1961 and Luton Airport in 1962. Despite opening up mass tourism to Crete and the Algarve in 1970, the package tour industry declined during the 1970s. On 15 August 1974, the industry was shaken when the second-largest tour operator, Court Line which operated under the brand names of Horizon and Clarksons, collapsed. Nearly 50,000 tourists were stranded overseas and a further 100,000 faced the loss of booking deposits.

In 2005 a growing number of consumers were avoiding package holidays and were instead travelling with budget airlines and booking their own accommodation. In the UK, the downturn in the package holiday market led to the consolidation of the tour operator market, which is now dominated by a few large tour operators. The major operators are Thomson Holidays and First Choice part of TUI AG and Thomas Cook AG. Under these umbrella brands there exists a whole range of different holiday operators catering to different markets, such as Club 18-30 or Simply Travel. Budget airlines have also created their own package holiday divisions such as Jet2 Holidays.

The trend for package holiday bookings saw a comeback in 2009, as customers sought greater financial security in the wake of a number of holiday and flight companies going bust, and as the hidden costs of 'no-frills' flights increased. Coupled with the search for late holidays as holidaymakers left booking to the last moment, this led to a rise in consumers booking package holidays.[2]

Dynamic packaging

Dynamic packaging is a method that is becoming increasingly used in package holiday booking procedures that enables consumers to build their own package of flights, accommodation and hire car instead of a pre-defined package.[3]

Free Independent Traveler

Free Independent Traveler (or Tourist) refers to both a way of traveling and, from an industry viewpoint, a sector within the tourism market. FITs practise a form of dynamic packaging but the emphasis is from the end-user point of view and includes the wider economic effects that FITs "spread" in their destination country as opposed to more traditional, consolidated forms of travel.

References


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