Vaccine Boost Holidays Confidence as Operators Report Rise in Bookings

Coach and tour operators have reportedly seen an unexpected growth in bookings in the last fortnight

Coach and tour operators have reportedly seen an unexpected growth in bookings in the last fortnight signalling a growing confidence in travel for 2021 and 2022.

TUI says 50% of bookings on their website are currently by over-50s. This was previously a smaller market for them.

Andrew Flintham the MD of TUI UK said: “We’re seeing a customer base or age group that wasn’t booking before, that is starting to book. The over 50s, we assume, is on the back to the vaccine news.”

“People are booking later into the summer, hedging their bets. More July and August and a lot of demand for September and October.

“People are booking longer holidays, we’re seeing more people booking ten or eleven or 14 nights rather than seven. People are maybe catching up on what they’ve missed.

“It is family time we’ve all missed. We can’t get away from our own families, but our broader families we can’t see, and that’s feeding into our choices.

“I think the summer holiday is on. I think we just need time for people to get that confidence, but yes, we think there will be a good summer this summer.”

National Express’s coach holiday businesses say bookings made by those 65 and over have increased by 185% in the last fortnight compared to last year.

Jit Desai, Head of Holidays and Travel at National Express said: “Since the announcement of the vaccine, it’s given our customer base, predominantly those over 65, increased confidence to book and have that summer getaway in 2021.

“We launched the brochure for spring-summer 2021 just this weekend gone, and on Monday we took a week’s worth of bookings in a day and that’s continued so far.

“What the vaccine does is give certainty and confidence. That then allows the customer and ourselves the ability to plan ahead.

“Many we’ve spoken to have had the first jab. They know in 12 weeks they’ll get a second jab. It gives them certainty that they can enjoy and look forward to their 2021 holiday. It is something to look forward to, to being with people, with friends, like minded and from the same generation.”