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Monday, September 13, 1999 Published at 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK

Business: Your Money

Millennium holidays flop

Dream breaks are not being taken over the Millennium holiday

Cynical Britons see the Millennium as an excuse for companies to "rip them off", according to a new survey.

The report, by the Co-op, found that only 15% of adults regard the beginning of the year 2000 as a "once-in-a-lifetime" event, and only 20% expect to hold, or visit, a big party on Millennium Eve.

[ image: Price loading has deterred interest in holiday deals]
Price loading has deterred interest in holiday deals
The findings tie in with claims by holiday companies that demand for Millennium breaks has been much lower than expected.

Last week, the UK's biggest holiday firm, Thomson, issued a profits warning, blaming the poor performance on a lack of take up of short-haul breaks over the holiday period.

Based on interviews with thousands of adults and children living at home aged 11-19, the Co-op survey also found that:

  • Nearly three in five adults believe the cost of going out on Millennium Eve will be too high

  • More than half (55%) say companies will try to rip them off

  • One in three expects supermarkets to push up prices and the same number believe people will stockpile food

  • Nearly half the children questioned (45%) are expecting to party the big night away with family or friends

  • 81% of people do not believe the Millennium will bring much difference to family life.

    The Co-op's spokeswoman, Beverley Jamieson, said: "Our findings show a great deal of cynicism among the British public."

    Hefty premiums added to the price of Millennium breaks have prompted people to stay at home instead.

    There has been a widespread belief that companies are simply trying to cash in on the Millennium, but many deals are priced higher to take into account the inflated costs of hiring staff over the holiday.

    Many travel operators are now discounting the prices of deals back to the levels of normal years.

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