Ash prompts 9% drop in online travel sales

Online travel sales fell 9% from March to April 2010. according to the latest figures from the IMRG Cap Gemini eRetail Sales Index.

While the sector had experienced year-on-year double digit growth in both February and March, online sales growth only increased 5% for April compared with the same month last year.

The survey demonstrates the impact of the volcanic ash on bookings when travel lost out to other online sectors such as the homes and garden sector which saw growth of 32%.

Commenting on the survey results, ancillary specialist HolidayExtras said it had to deal with 1,000 cancellations a day during the ash crisis.

Meanwhile, research from Kelkoo UK predicts flight prices will rise 5% in the next year because of the ash crisis, oil prices and operational costs.

Managing director Bruce Fair said costs would inevitably be passed on to consumers who will face £1.8 billion in increased travel costs in the next 12 months. 

Fair added that the average cost of a flight to New York would rise £62.

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