The desire is certainly undiminished. As another northern hemisphere summer draws closer, tourists around the world are looking forward to resuming their travel plans. Obviously eager to tap into that enthusiasm, airline and holiday industry companies have been presenting attractive packages for the new holiday season, and reporting growing interest as the global vaccination roll-out gains momentum.
EasyJet Holidays, for example, has reported a 250 per cent increase in bookings for summer compared with the same time last year (May is the most popular month), noting that customers are keen to get away as soon as possible.
“We welcome that the much-needed vaccination programme is well underway across the UK and Europe,” said EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren, “as this is undoubtedly the key to unlocking travel again. Not only in enabling travel to take place this summer but in giving consumers confidence to book, so we are absolutely focused on ensuring we are ready to ramp up our flying schedule for when our customers take to the skies again.”
EasyJet’s optimism is reflected in a survey the company – one of the main airline operators at Corvera Airport Murcia – conducted among 5,000 consumers across Europe in January.
This was at a time when lockdown measures were in place or about to be reintroduced in countries across Europe (including Spain), and it coincided with the early stages of the vaccine roll-out, all of which EasyJet believes shows that “consumer intent to book a long-awaited trip is only set to grow once travel restrictions are relaxed”.
The survey’s findings included…
- Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents were planning to or had already booked a flight in 2021. “The pent-up demand seen among Brits was even stronger, with 68 per cent of UK consumers actively looking to travel in 2021.”
- The majority of consumers said they liked to travel a lot (82 per cent), and the survey also revealed that travel still remained a priority for many.
- Of those who had already made a booking for 2021 (14 per cent) over half (56 per cent) said they intended to book again this year, “showing a strong appetite to make up for lost time”.
- Among those still waiting to make a travel booking this year, the majority (82 per cent) cited their need for “more certainty around travel restrictions lifting”.
- Further research by EasyJet showed that quarantine restrictions were a significant driver in restraining demand to travel. “This indicates that demand returning is dependent on travel restrictions being rolled back safely.”
“We know the biggest single barrier to booking and travelling is government restrictions,” said Johan Lundgren. “This is why a government plan of how restrictions can be unwound when it is safe to do, coupled with the successful roll-out of the vaccination programmes, will undoubtedly be the key to unlocking travel again, giving consumers both the confidence to book and travel.
“We know that flexibility remains a priority for our customers. Our ‘Protection Promise’ means that customers can book with confidence knowing that if they are unable to travel or their plans change so can their flights or holiday. And unlike other airlines we will offer customers refunds if they are impacted by a travel ban, even if their flight is not cancelled, which is industry-leading.
“It is great to see that so many consumers plan to travel this year as soon as they can. We will be ready to ramp up our flights to ensure we can take our customers away to see friends and family or on long-awaited holiday breaks when they take to the skies again.”
Pictured: Last year, EasyJet teamed up with Irish artist Will Sliney – known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars – to create a range of new comic book-inspired face mask covers for young flyers.