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Tour operators report heavy demand for last-minute summer package trips | News

Besides late-summer getaways, holiday packages for next winter are selling like hotcakes.

The Greek island of Rhodes remains a perennial favourite destination for tourists from Finland. Image: AOP

The recent spell of cool, damp weather has spurred many in Finland to seek getaways to sunnier climes. Tour operators say that the remaining offerings for this summer are slim due to high demand as travel restrictions are scaled back.

They report only a few slots still left for southern destinations in late July.

“Demand has been enormous this summer. We haven’t had to offer [discount] sudden departure offers like in previous years,” said Mia Kopola, the director responsible for hotel purchasing at tour operator Aurinkomatkat.

“In terms of customer numbers, we are not quite at the normal level yet, but some weeks we do sell holiday trips at the same rate as before the pandemic, said Laura Aaltonen, TUI Finland’s communications manager.

“Everything that we have, will sell. One of the reasons is that in the aftermath of Covid, we have fewer available spots than normally,” said Satu Kontulainen, marketing manager at Apollomatkat.

Pandemic changed booking habits

Traditionally, sales of summer holiday trips have started in January. This year, travel bookings only started to pick up after Easter.

The pandemic has caused people to delay booking trips, Kontulainen said.

“Even though we are in the midst of the hottest summer holiday season, people would be willing to book and leave for a holiday within just the span of a week,” she explained.

After the travel restrictions have been lifted, the number of bookings has slowly increased. The tourism sector is returning to normal, as customers once again are daring to make longer-term plans.

“We’re already busy booking autumn vacations and next winter’s trips. The booking trend is

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