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Published on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Summer hopes recede as attention shifts to 2022

More than four in 10 bookings taken by Advantage Travel Partnership are for 2022 holidays as hopes recede that Covid restrictions will be sufficiently lifted in time for summer.

Advantage Leisure Director, Kelly Cookes, said consumer confidence has dipped 'considerably' while hopes of an Easter getaway have nosedived.

Not Just Travel meanwhile reported that 62% of its sales are for travel beyond 2021.

Industry concerns over summer are shared by Downing Street which believes there is little prospect of mass international tourism this summer.

Cookes said the picture looks brighter from August onwards.

"Since the announcement of tighter border restrictions and the red list of countries we've seen consumer confidence fall considerably and bookings for Easter drop off a cliff due to mass uncertainty," she said.

"We have seen some summer bookings for June and July but the majority for this summer have been from August onwards. This can be down, in part, to a positive impact from the effective roll out of the vaccine. 

"It's clear though that many people are looking now to next year in terms of making real travel plans - 43% of bookings made last week were for travel in 2022."

The top selling destinations have been the Canaries, Greece and New York, Cookes said.

Barrhead Travel President Jacqueline Dobson said it was clear the majority of customers are wary of booking a summer break.

"As each week goes by, we're seeing bookings increase for winter 2021 and summer 2022 - and even for holidays into 2023," she said.

"It's apparent that most customers are still cautious about this summer as we've seen winter 2021 and summer 2022 significantly overtake bookings for summer 21.

"There is great value pricing across all seasons right now which is helping with customers making the commitment to book.

"If travel restrictions can be eased over the coming months, it is likely there would be a healthy lates season with strong demand for last-minute getaways throughout summer."

Dobson added that the industry is in urgent need of a clear plan.

"Time is marching on through this lockdown and we urgently need the UK Government and its devolved administrations to set out what the plans may be to release travel restrictions when lockdown eases - particularly now that there are increased restrictions in place at the borders," she said.

"We're yet to hear any further information about how testing or air corridors may be used to open up travel this summer.

"That information is crucial - both for businesses to forward-plan and for customers who are deciding when to travel."

Not Just Travel co-founder Steve Witt said it was continuing to see solid demand, with 38% of bookings for summer 2021 holidays and winter 2021/22.

But, as with Advantage and Barrhead Travel, many bookings are for 2022 onwards.

"The other 62% are for 2022 and 2023, with about 6% being 2023," Witt said. "We've seen the average booking values rise by over £1,000 per booking, with a large increase in adults and couples holidays being booked.

"Currently, our sales are split about 64% adults and couple holiday bookings and 36% family bookings."

He said the company has seen a large rise in the number of people booking via Direct Debit.

"Sales are strong and we expect to see another surge in bookings as lockdown restrictions ease and more people receive their vaccinations," Witt added. "Now is a great time to book a holiday, as destinations are looking to entice tourists back, so you can pick up some great deals.

"Customers want to go on holiday, they want something to look forward to - whether it's a staycation or further abroad through a travel corridor."

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