An increase in bookings has been reported by holiday companies as the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine gives hope to many that they may be able to travel outside of the country once again.
Despite ministers advising against foreign holidays, and the closure of air corridors, there are signs that overseas trips are being planned by those first in line for the vaccine.
Travel association, Abta, said that over-50s accounted for a higher percentage of early bookings than expected.
Chief executive of Saga Holidays, Chris Simmonds, said: “Many of our guests are hopeful that they will be able to travel again soon, with the vaccine providing them the optimism they need to start planning ahead.
“Of course, given we cater exclusively for people aged over 50, many of our customers are near the top of the queue for a vaccine, which is giving them the confidence to start thinking about travelling again, as well as returning to other parts of normal life.”
Tour operator, Tui, also said that older travellers accounted for a higher proportion of bookings than usual.
“We’re seeing more interest in holidays from an age group that wasn’t coming through before, with the over-50s starting to book, we assume, on the back of the positive vaccine news,” said a Tui spokesperson.
“Since the end of last year, bookings from this group have accounted for 50% of all our web bookings, as customers long for a sunshine break later in summer, in particular in Greece, Turkey or the Balearics.”
Tui also said that customers were booking longer holidays than expected, with many choosing to forgo the usual seven-night stay for 10, 11, or even 14 nights.
easyJet reported a 250% increase in holiday bookings than they had this time last year.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s chief executive, said: “We have seen easyJet holidays bookings from our over-50s customers increase over the last few weeks in comparison to pre-Christmas, which suggests a further confidence boost from the vaccine rollout.”
“We have seen that every time restrictions have been relaxed and so we know that people want to go on holiday as soon as they can,” Lundgren added.
Skyscanner, the online travel search engine that offers hotels and flights, said that bookings and searches were down for the time of year, but there were signs that activity was increasing.
July 2021 was the month most searched for, with bookings on the site up 7% and searches up 12%.
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