Vaccine confidence boost for older travellers

Surge in bookings for over-65s

By Rob Gill, TTG Media

The new vaccines for Covid-19 has sparked a surge in confidence with the over-65s leading a huge surge in holiday bookings.

Coach operator National Express has seen a 185 per cent rise in over-65s booking holidays compared with this time in 2020 after launching its spring and summer programme last weekend.

Jit Desai, from National Express, told BBC Breakfast: “Many of them have had their first jab and now within 12 weeks will receive their second jab. That gives them a level of certainty that they can enjoy and look forward to their 2021 holiday.”

Desai added that National Express had taken “a week’s worth” of bookings in a single day on Monday, compared with the same period last year.

Tui’s UK managing director Andrew Flintham said the over-50s accounted for more than half of bookings received on the tour operator’s website in the past two weeks.

He added that they were getting more multi-generational family bookings as well as from “broader groups”.

TTG editor Sophie Griffiths also told BBC Breakfast: “This is utterly fantastic news and will be hugely welcomed by an industry that’s been devastated by the pandemic.

“Ten months into this crisis, the travel industry still has received zero dedicated financial support from the government.

“This is the first sign of the light at the end of the tunnel for the sector. Who isn’t going to want a holiday after the annus horribilis that was 2020?”

Escorted touring specialist Titan Travel said bookings for 2022 were “beginning to take off”, with one tour to Costa Rica already sold out 13 months before departure.

Managing director Andy Squirrell added: “Having conducted consumer surveys over summer last year, we recognised that travellers are looking ahead to future trips earlier than ever before.

“The vaccine rollout is undoubtedly bringing greater confidence to travellers who are itching to book a holiday and travel once again. Whether consumers are wanting to travel in 2021 or book in advance for 2022, we’re declaring 2021 the Year of the Holiday; the much-anticipated reawakening of travel.” 

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