Desperate holiday firms are slashing the cost of packages and flights in a bid to overcome the threat from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
It is feared questions over the rights of Britons to travel without visas after we leave the EU on March 29 will hit bookings.
At the same time, the squeeze on family budgets means people are cutting back on big spending commitments.
Travel companies are concerned that holiday makers are putting off booking their sunshine breaks over fears of a no-deal Brexit
Holiday firm Thomas Cook, pictured, has already issued a profits warning to shareholders
The Christmas period is crucial for holiday firms as they hope to tempt families with a cheap trip to the sun.
Thomas Cook has been forced to issue profit warnings in the past year following a slump in bookings.
The prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be a disaster for the company in terms of the uncertainty about travel arrangements, visas and new charges to visit EU countries. Deals from the firm, which has been in talks with banks in a bid to shore up its finances, include a saving of £300 per booking when spending £4,000 or more.
There is a discount of £150 when the booking is over £1,500 and £75 for those travellers spending £800.
Today, Thomas Cook Airlines is launching a range of flight-only deals to both short and long-haul destinations, however the best deals are restricted to periods outside the school holidays. The company is offering flights to the Canaries and Balearics from as little as £42.99 one way.
Holiday firms are reporting return flights to New York for £329.99 to create some demand
A one-way flight to the Canaries with Thomas Cook is currently available for £43
There are also flights to the US, including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, from £329.99 return. Return flights to Barbados and Tobago start at £399.99 return.
Rival holiday company TUI is kicking off sales today with discounts, free places for children and low deposits.
Couples can claim discounts of £300 on short-haul breaks for couples and £400 on long-haul trips.
TUI is also launching low deposits from of either £50 per person or £150 per family from Boxing Day on selected bookings to short and mid haul destinations departing between May 1 and October 31.
TUI said its newest destination, Kvarner Bay in Croatia, will have starting prices from £599 this summer. All-inclusive adult-only holidays in the summer start at £899 for seven nights.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling insists Britons will be able to take summer holidays to Europe even if there is a no deal Brexit. The European Commission recently published contingency plans that include ensuring the flights continue and a commitment to maintain transport links.
Mr Grayling said: ‘Whether for business or leisure, travellers can continue to book with confidence.
‘The Government has already set out in our technical notices published on September 24, that we would permit EU airlines to fly to the UK and would expect this to be reciprocated.’