Holiday bookings could reach ‘pre-pandemic levels by Summer 2022’

Jan 26, 2022

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Could it be? Are holiday bookings really set to hit the heights of pre-pandemic levels in just a matter of months?

Well, it certainly seems like they’re increasing fast – if the latest updates from travel firms across the country, as well as industry heavyweights Skyscanner, Thomas Cook and EasyJet, are anything to go by.

Related: Here’s how to find the cheapest flight to anywhere

TUI’s Managing Director, Andrew Flintham, went as far as to say exactly that in a recent chat with BBC.

Explaining that the company had seen a surge in holiday bookings for winter hotspots such as the Caribbean and Canary Islands, he added: “We now expect summer 2022 bookings to be back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Thomas Cook, now an online-only booking firm, said it is currently seeing a 300% rise in holiday bookings compared to 2021.

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TUI says it believes holiday bookings may return to levels seen prior to the pandemic (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Its CEO Alan French added: “After two years of bans and changing rules, it feels like we’ve really turned a corner and with the end of testing in sight, we expect to see even more people look ahead to a summer of sunshine.”

Related: More than 100,000 “ghost flights” will fly over Europe this winter, says Greenpeace

And airline Jet2 noted that its bookings have risen 300%, too – but in the last week alone. “We have seen a notable increase in demand for holidays and flights across all seasons, particularly February half term, the Easter holidays and Summer 2022,”  CEO Steve Heapy told the BBC.

EasyJet and Skyscanner also told the publication they’d experienced a recent surge of 2022 bookings.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared on 24 January the country would prove it was now “open to businesses, open to travellers” following months of changing travel restrictions.

Related: 9 travel trends we expect to see in 2022

(Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

 

Currently, the red list for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has no countries on it – and all four nations have agreed to relax testing requirements for fully- vaccinated U.K arrivals, from 4 a.m. on 11 February.

The rule change will come into effect just in time for parents and families to enjoy half-term holidays abroad.

Should this upward curve of relaxed restrictions continue, some have suggested that the one remaining barrier to travel is the U.K.’s lengthy passenger locator form (PLF), which all arrivals – regardless of their vaccination status – need to fill in.

While many may wait to complete their PLF at the airport, it is worth being aware that the form can be submitted online up to 48 hours before your trip.

Related: PLF forms could soon be easier to fill out, says Heathrow Airport’s CEO

However, Adventure Travel Partnership’s Leisure Director, Kelly Cookes, told Travel Weekly the weighty PLF was “another layer of complexity the traveller could do without”. Making it simpler, she added, would “break down the barriers for those who want to travel but feel it is too complicated to do so”.

Azores, Portugal
Azores, Portugal (Photo by Francesco Bonino / EyeEm / Getty)

Indeed, it does add an extra item to your to-do list. PLFs currently require you have to hand, among other things: your passport, the U.K. address you’ll be staying at (such as your hotel or your home if you’re a resident), the booking numbers for any COVID-19 tests you’ve taken, plus your travel dates and times.

And of course, travellers who aren’t double-jabbed will still be required to meet certain testing requirements on arrival in the U.K.

All passengers, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, will also have to contend with the individual entry requirements of their destination country, too — which can sometimes get quite complicated.

While 2022 certainly looks brighter for plenty of holidaymakers and holiday companies, only time will tell if bookings really do reach pre-pandemic levels over the next few months.

Featured image via Getty Images

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