Ryanair, TUI, Wizz Air and Jet2 have all been giving their updates on summer travel trends in the last few days. And although there were differing degrees of optimism about the rate of recovery in the travel sector, all were united in one thing: Travel is unlikely to fully recover until 2022 at the earliest.
And the continuing uncertainty generated by the government’s travel traffic light system has seen people booking much later than they used to. After all, who wants to book a holiday to a country that may go from the amber list to the red list at some point in the future?
Fluctuating case numbers in countries all over the world, make it almost impossible to predict which country will be next for the dreaded red list – meaning travellers could face 10 nights in a quarantine hotel on their return.
And at a cost of £2,285 per person it’s no laughing matter.
But despite all the barriers in the way of a break in the sun, it seems Brits have been more and more willing to put up with the airport queues, frontier checks, form filling, and testing needed to leave our shores. The school holidays in August were always going to be the best indicator of how much the travel industry has recovered from the devastation caused by the pandemic.
At the most optimistic end of the scale was Michael O’Leary, boss of low-cost giant Ryanair.
He told reporters last week that the airline flew 11.1 million passengers in August, more than the budget airline’s target of 10.5 million. This was also 50% more than in August last year, but still only 75% of the numbers of passengers they carried in the same month in 2019.
TUI on the other hand announced a raft of holiday cancellations to some of Britain’s favourite destinations including Spain, Italy, and Turkey. It’s estimated that there have been around 4.2 million bookings this summer compared with about nine million before Covid-19.
While the overall message from chief executive Fritz Joussen was fairly downbeat, and heavily critical of the uncertainty created by the traffic light system and expensive testing for travel regime, he did strike one more optimistic note.
He said that there were early signs that pent-up demand for foreign holidays was translating into firm bookings. Winter holiday bookings were looking healthier, while early sales for summer 2022, were more than double the same period in 2019.
Low-cost airline Jet2 echoed these sentiments, saying that bookings were improving for 2022. But they also said that people were booking much closer to departure than previously.
Airlines and tour operators have done a lot to offer flexible booking and cancellation options to holidaymakers looking for a much-needed break abroad.
And travel insurance providers have also worked hard to offer enhanced cover to make sure that travellers can go on holiday safe in the knowledge that many of the possible scenarios thrown at them by Covid-19 will be covered.
However, make sure you read and understand your policy as they all have different levels of cover, and some potential scenarios won’t be covered. As always, it’s important to buy your travel insurance when you book your holiday to make sure you get the most value out of your cover, against something going wrong before you leave.