As the Covid-19 vaccine continues to roll out across Britain, some travel companies have reported a sharp increase in holiday bookings for the summer. Data shows a surge in bookings by over 50s is fuelling the growth, with many spending their money on booking holidays to favourite destinations or on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
According to travel companies including TUI and Saga Holidays, there has been a noticeable increase in summer bookings by older travellers since Covid-19 vaccinations began. Many are now pinning their hopes on getting their vaccinations very soon, and restrictions being lifted by the summer. In addition, there is a lot of pent-up demand, with vast numbers of Brits missing out on a summer holiday in 2020 due to the pandemic.
However, some officials have warned that those booking summer holidays at this stage need to be careful they do not end up losing their money. In the current situation, there is no guarantee exactly when people will get their vaccines. Also, even if the vaccination rollout stays on track, there is no guarantee that all travel corridors will be open between countries.
The top medical advisor in Scotland, Professor Jason Leitch, said that Brits should not expect to be flying abroad until at least the autumn. He went as far as to say that people from the UK should avoid booking holidays overseas until 2022. In a recent Q&A session, he said, “I wouldn't book a non-refundable summer holiday if I were you.”
The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has also warned against booking summer holidays based on the assumption that people will be able to travel by then.
Increased bookings seen by many travel companies
Many travel companies have seen the increase in bookings from older travellers, including Saga Holidays, which specialises in trips for over 50s. During the first two weeks of 2021, bookings with the holiday company increased by 16%. However, Saga will not be allowing anyone not vaccinated to travel, even if travel corridors are open by the summer.
TUI also reported a surge in holiday spending and bookings from the older generation. An official from the company said, “We're seeing more interest in holidays from an age group that wasn't coming through before, with the over-50s starting to book, we assume, on the back of the positive vaccine news.”
More older travellers buying travel insurance
It was also revealed that in addition to more over 50s booking summer holidays, there has been an increase in older travellers taking out travel insurance. Officials have urged all people booking a summer holiday to ensure they take out travel insurance cover due to the uncertainty in the current climate.
While travel insurance can provide some level of protection, Brits are also being urged to book a flexible holiday wherever possible. This then enables them to either cancel or change the date of their trip based on the situation at that time. Without this, some could risk losing their deposits or losing the full amount of money for the holiday if they paid in full upfront.
In addition, experts have advised travellers to book with a credit card, which offers more protection in the event of an issue. Booking a package holiday that offers ATOL protection is also advised for those determined to book for this summer.