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Half of UK residents plan several trips next year

The Best in the Industry honored at WTM London
The Best in the Industry honored at WTM London
Written by Harry Johnson

The trade has been reporting widespread pent-up demand for travel throughout the pandemic and this has been shown by rising booking rates whenever restrictions are eased.

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Half of Brits plan two or more holidays in 2022 – and 70% plan to take at least one holiday next year, according to research released today (1 November) by WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry.

Furthermore, four in 10 consumers intend to spend more on holidays than they did back in 2019, reveals the WTM Industry Report.

The poll of 1,000 consumers, released today at WTM London, found that just 16% don’t plan to go away at all, while 22% say they will have one holiday in 2022.

A third (29%) told pollsters they planned a couple of holidays – including short breaks as well as longer vacations – while 11% said they were hoping to take three. Almost one in 10 (9%) said they were planning to take more than three holidays.

When it comes to holiday spending plans, 43% intend to spend more than in 2019 and less than one in 10 (9%) said they would spend less than 2019’s budget.

Almost one in six (17%) told the survey they would spend “significantly” more than 2019 – by a margin of 20% or more – while a quarter (26%) estimated they would spend slightly more – up to 20% above 2019.

A third said they would spend about the same as before the pandemic.

The consumer findings are supported by research among the global travel industry, with almost half (44%) of 676 companies quizzed by WTM London say their bookings will reach or surpass the levels seen in 2019. Two-fifths (42%) say booking levels next year will still lag behind 2019, while 14% were not sure or didn’t know.

The research bodes well for the recovery of the British outbound travel industry, suggesting there is strong pent-up demand for post-pandemic getaways as restrictions ease.

With overseas travel in 2020 and 2021 being far below pre-Covid levels, the survey gives hope to agents, operators and airlines that bookings will bounce back quickly when travel becomes easier.

In September, trade bodies Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association told Transport Minister Grant Shapps that summer 2021 “was a worse summer for our industry than summer 2020”, adding: “The UK is being left behind despite its world-beating vaccination program.”

Heathrow Airport, for example, saw passenger numbers 71% down in August 2021 compared to same pre-pandemic summer peak month.

The London hub dropped from being the busiest airport in Europe in 2019 to 10th as competitors recovered at a much faster pace.

Furthermore, the findings echo market indicators seen elsewhere – over the summer, ABTA’s consumer research found that 41% already have a holiday abroad booked for the next 12 months, and 35% had booked a foreign holiday for this summer. These numbers are lower than normal but they do reveal how demand for travel remains, in spite of the difficult climate.

And Hays Travel, the UK’s largest travel agency, reported a profit in August, thanks in part to the armada of cruise ships offering domestic sailings over the summer around the British Isles.

Simon Press, WTM London Exhibition Director, said: “The trade has been reporting widespread pent-up demand for travel throughout the pandemic and this has been shown by rising booking rates whenever restrictions are eased.

“However, the uncertainty and confusion about travel rules has deterred many would-be holidaymakers until now.

“With more optimism about borders opening up and further easing of travel restrictions, it looks likely that all those long-held holiday plans will be fulfilled, giving the industry the chance to recover as we return to more normal travel patterns.”

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for almost 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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