Holiday firm reports record bookings as Brits scramble to lock in a place in the sun in first proper foreign summer holidays in three years
- Airlines and travel agents are reporting a boom for holidays not seen since 2020
- Surge reported in holidays to Spain, United States, Italy and India, among others
- Appetite to get away is strong, even with money worries and rising flight costs
Brits are scrambling in record numbers to lock down their summer holiday plans, with travel companies reporting a resurgence in bookings not seen since before the pandemic, even in the face of rising flight costs.
With the majority of the world now reopened to holidaymakers, coupled with anxiety over the economy and rising prices, cost-conscious Brits have opted to book now rather than wait later in the year.
As such, airlines, tour operators and travel agents are reporting a boom time for holiday bookings not seen since 2020, The Times reports.
While the start of the new year is typically busy as people cure their January blues by booking a break, this year has proven exceptionally good for holiday firms.
In the case of online agent Barrhead Travel, sales were up 25 per cent compared with before the pandemic.
Brits are scrambling in record numbers to lock down their summer holiday plans, with travel companies reporting a resurgence in bookings not seen since before the pandemic
Airlines, tour operators and travel agents are reporting a boom time not seen since 2020
One firm reported an upsurge in searches for deals in Spain, United States, Italy and India
Many firms reported a surge in bookings to destinations that have been traditionally popular, such as Morocco and Thailand, while travel search site Travelscanner has seen an upsurge in searches for holiday deals in Spain, United States, Italy and India.
Antonio Fellino, managing director of leading tour operator Travel Republic, said the firm had seen all-inclusive packages accounting for 42 per cent of bookings as Brits look to avoid unforeseen costs for their summer break.
He said: ‘With so much economic anxiety, the increase we’ve seen for all-inclusive holidays is unsurprising, with families wanting to be secure in knowing exactly what they’ll be spending when they go away.’
Jacqueline Dobson, of Barrhead Travel, added: ‘Getting value for money is top priority, which is why we’re seeing all-inclusive emerge as the most popular holiday type.’
While Brits are concerned with getting more bang for their buck, there is still also a desire to go to far-flung places and tick off destinations that have been off-limits because of the pandemic, added Hazel McGuire, general manager of Intrepid Travel in the UK.
Top destinations booked last month included Vietnam, Morocco, India, Jordan and Ecuador.
The surge in bookings shows the appetite among holidaymakers to get away, even in the face of rising flight costs.
Ticket prices rose by 44.1 per cent in the year to December, according to the Office for National Statistics.
India was among the most searched for destinations, according to Skyscanner. Pictured: A beautiful beach in Goa
Italy also topped the list of the most desired places to visit this summer. Pictured: Polignano a Mare in Italy
The surge shows a strong appetite among holidaymakers, even in the face of rising flight costs
That is the biggest rise in airline prices for more than 30 years.
But despite flight prices hitting historic highs and the wider cost of living crisis, Britons are still keen on booking holidays.
EasyJet said its Easter ticket yields were already up 25 per cent on 2019, before coronavirus pandemic restrictions hit airlines.
This week Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said that ‘based on current booking profiles, we think that fares will rise into Easter and the summer’.
THE TOP FIVE FLIGHT SEARCHES RIGHT NOW
According to global travel search site Skyscanner, the most popular destinations looked at are:
2. United States
*Users can look for the cheapest flights on specific dates using the ‘Everywhere’ search
Wizz Air boss boss Jozsef Varadi last week said ‘bookings are strong’ as the firm enjoyed a surge in ticket sales.
Meanwhile aviation analyst John Strickland said prices were likely to rise for the next few months due to high fuel prices and airline capacity, mostly on long haul flights, still getting back to pre-pandemic levels.
Strickland said: ‘We are seeing average prices are going up. It is evident that that trend is firmly in place. The hard evidence from airlines is for price increases even in recent winter months.
‘These price increases are not airlines trying to exploit the situation, they reflect increasing costs, like aviation fuel. Aviation fuel prices remain high, and this is around one third of airlines’ costs.
‘The other factor is capacity on long-haul flights, which has not returned to the level it was pre-Covid.’
A survey last month by industry body Abta found 61 per cent of people are planning to take an overseas holiday this year.
Some 31 per cent of people in a separate survey said they plan to book a holiday earlier than normal to get the best price.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: ‘The start of the year usually brings lots of enthusiasm for booking holidays and we know many people will be really looking forward to getting away in 2023.
‘People’s appetite for holiday-taking has remained remarkably resilient despite the ongoing pressure on people’s finances, though there’s definitely a strong focus on securing great value for money.’
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