While any notion of travel has been firmly parked during our third lockdown, the growing number of vaccinations has seen a spike in people over 50 booking holiday for later this year.
In the past fortnight, coach and tour operators have reported a sudden growth in bookings.
With three million vaccines now administered in the UK, tourism industry figures have put the unexpected growth in bookings down to “vaccine confidence”.
In fact, coach holiday businesses run by National Express says bookings made by those 65 and over has increased by 185% in the last fortnight compared to last year.
Jit Desai, head of holidays and travel at National Express, says: "Since the announcement of the vaccine, it's given our customer base, predominantly those over 65, increased confidence to book and have that summer getaway in 2021.
"We launched the brochure for spring-summer 2021 just this weekend gone, and on Monday we took a week's worth of bookings in a day and that's continued so far.
"What the vaccine does is give certainty and confidence. That then allows the customer and ourselves the ability to plan ahead.”
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The UK’s largest tour operator TUI says 50% of the bookings on its website have been made by over-50s.
"We're seeing a customer base or age group that wasn't booking before, that is starting to book,” Andrew Flintham the MD of TUI UK says.
“The over 50s, we assume, is on the back to the vaccine news."
Flintham adds that while the “market is still depressed” they are starting to see “glimmers of hope”.
Hopeful holidaymakers are crossing their fingers for a summer holiday, as Flintham reveals there’s been an uptick in bookings for July and August and “a lot of demand” for September and October holidays too.
"People are booking longer holidays, we're seeing more people booking 10 or 11 or 14 nights rather than seven,” Flintham adds. “People are maybe catching up on what they've missed."
TUI also reports an increase in multi-generational bookings as people flock to spend more time with their family after being apart through multiple lockdowns.
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“It is family time we've all missed. We can't get away from our own families, but our broader families we can't see, and that's feeding into our choices,” Flintham adds.
Despite TUI cancelling all of its holidays until the middle of February, Flimtham believes a summer holiday will be a sure thing.
He adds: “I think we just need time for people to get that confidence, but yes, we think there will be a good summer this summer.”