ForwardKeys has revealed at the World Travel Market in London today, that air bookings by Brits for 2019 summer to EU destinations are on the rise.
According to the data, British holidaymakers appear oblivious to their concerns regarding Brexit. The study revealed that air bookings by Brits for 2019 summer (defined as April to September) to EU destinations are ahead by 5.7% compared to the same point last year.
By comparison, British bookings to destinations beyond the EU are currently 28.5% ahead. One year ago, the growth rate of forward bookings to non-EU destinations was 4.3%.
“Business as usual”
Olivier Ponti, VP Insights at ForwardKeys, said: “When we interrogate the flight booking data, looking at trends in the UK outbound market, the best description is ‘business as usual’ or if anything, the future looks brighter!”
For the 2018 summer holiday season (Apr-Sept), 28% of trips by British travellers to the EU were booked more than six months in advance, 32% were booked during the first quarter of the year, and 40% were booked during the season itself.
Olivier Ponti continued: “We do not see anything much in the data to confirm a ‘Brexit effect’ on people’s booking behaviour for EU destinations currently. However, January is traditionally a very important month for holiday bookings, so if there is still no Brexit deal by then and consumers start panicking, the outlook could rapidly start to look very different.”
Looking back on the year to October, outbound travel from the UK grew by 3.2%. Besides the World Cup in Russia, the winning destinations were in the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa.
Those destinations that were troubled by security fears, terror attacks, and UK Government travel bans three years ago are, at last, growing again in 2018. Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey registered impressive growth rates and a gain in market shares, at the expense of Spain, Portugal and, to a lesser extent, Italy.
The fastest growing destinations for British travellers in 2018 were all non-EU countries.
“A vote of confidence in the market”
Ponti added: “The Aviation industry started its 2018/19 winter season last week and total available seats on the scheduled flights between the UK and the EU increased by 3.4%, compared to the previous winter season. This appears to be a vote of confidence in the market – particularly when, by contrast, capacity over the summer was 0.5% less than summer 2017.
“As for next summer, seat capacity provides no clear picture yet, because at least two main airlines operating between the UK and the EU are currently hesitant to share their schedules with the industry.”