Holidays have been a huge talking point for Britons recently, with airlines restarting itineraries and the government grappling to offer answers as to when Britons may be allowed to take holidays – whether that is domestic or further afield. However, one thing is certain, the future of the travel industry will be a far cry from the one we left behind in 2019.
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Travel experts from some of the UK’s leading brands spoke with Express.co.uk to share their insights on the destinations Britons are eager to jet off to once the government gives the green light, as well as what advice they’d offer to those who are keen to get booked as soon as possible.
Though there is no certainty as to when international travel will resume, the latest figures by The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows that even in the most optimistic of scenarios, where borders reopen in July, tourist figures could plummet by 58 percent.
The good news is, despite the uncertainty, it seems the nation is still eager to get on holiday, with Skyscanner reporting a 38 percent increase on search for holidays in October.
Similarly, the travel company cites a boost in searches for holidays in December 2020 too.
Across the board, while international holidays are on the agenda, it seems many travellers could be looking to a staycation, with London coming out as the top searched destination for both October and December, and Manchester also featuring.
Other search results for both months show holidaymakers have their eyes on certain destinations that remain popular throughout the year.
Both months saw increased searches for Orlando, New York, Tenerife, Dubai and Bangkok.
Other lusted after destinations include Alicante, Malaga, and Faro in October.
Those searching for a holiday a little later in the year also showed interest in Sydney, Lanzarote and Manila.
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Likewise, Booking.com also revealed that just because lockdown was in force, Britons hadn’t stopped dreaming of a holiday.
Since the start of March, the holiday booking platform has seen a spike in searches for certain international destinations.
They cited Amsterdam, Dubai, Ubud, Istanbul, Lisbon, Dublin, Athens, Albufeira, Gili Trawangan and Ko Lanta and some global cities that have taken precedence during this time.
“Since the start of March, some of the top wish-listed international destinations for Brits – who are among the top ten nationalities wish listing the most – feature a number of vibrant European cities, as well as beautiful sun-filled beach escapes located further afield,” said a Booking.com spokesperson.
Travel insurance provider Just Travel Cover found that 90 percent of Britons who took part in a survey said they have not been put off travelling abroad, despite more than half of those surveyed having seen their holiday plans cancelled due to the outbreak.
Andrew Jackson, managing director of the insurance broker, said: “COVID-19 has been absolutely devastating for the travel industry, but this survey gives us reason to be optimistic, with the majority (60 per cent) of those surveyed indicating that they’re looking forward to travelling abroad again as soon as they are able.”
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However, while many people are casting their attention to Europe, younger generations could be more ready to head further afield as soon as they can.
A study by StudentUniverse found that the younger generation, in particular Gen Z, are “still showing a desire to travel as soon as they can.”
A StudentUniverse spokesperson explained: “A whopping 67 percent of UK students who have had to cancel or delay a trip are still planning to take their trip within the next year, with 44 percent saying they were planning to travel more this year as they really miss it.
“The most impressive trend from Generation Z in the UK, is where they plan to travel when allowed.
“While many would expect travellers to stay closer to home due to the pandemic and the experts are predicting domestic trips will be the focus, 56 percent of respondents said they are planning for their next trip to be international, with only nine percent wanting to staycation in the UK.
“Europe was second with 33 percent of youth travellers opting for this.”
Of course, with the FCO giving a little indication as to when travel bans might be lifted, would-be holidaymakers are warned to proceed with caution when booking. Luckily, travel firms such as Skyscanner are introducing new policies to help encourage Britons to book while ensuring financial risks are ruled out.
“Of course, all travel is subject to conditions from the governments in both the departure and arrival countries,” explained a spokesperson.
“We have introduced measures to allow travellers to book with confidence, the most popular of which is the ability to search for tickets with flexible booking policies.
“We encourage anyone looking to travel to ensure that their policy covers future travel, this includes existing policies as this may have changed.”
Unsurprisingly, there are some holidaymakers who are erring on the side of caution and postponing holiday dreams until 2021.
“More than three-quarters of those we surveyed said that they expect to travel the same or more in 2021 than they did pre-COVID-19,” reported Mr Jackson.
Skyscanner revealed that people are already booking package holidays for next year, with several destinations proving popular.
According to the travel comparison site, the top ten most booked package holiday destinations in the last four weeks for April and May 2021 include Cyprus, the Costa Blanca, Orland, New York, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Ibiza and Majorca.
It seems many of Britain’s holiday favourites shine through, even in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.
Though no one knows what the future holds for travel, it seems the nation won’t let the devastating put them off exploring the beauty the world has to offer.
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