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lily9889 Rank 4
15.01.2021, 09:19
Over-50s rush to book holidays as vaccine boosts confidence

oach and tour operators have seen an unexpected growth in bookings in the last fortnight.

Industry figures call it growing "vaccine confidence" about 2021.

Whilst there is no doubt that the pandemic continues to put huge pressure on lives and the NHS, this is a small amount of sunshine for the travel industry, which has had a tough year.

TUI, the UK's largest tour operator, says 50% of bookings on their website are currently by over-50s.

This was previously a smaller market for them.

National Express's coach holiday businesses say bookings made by those 65 and over have increased by 185% in the last fortnight compared to last year.

Looking forward
"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" says Jit Desai, head of holidays and travel at National Express.

"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," says Mr Desai. "What the vaccine does is give certainty and confidence.

"That then allows the customer and ourselves the ability to plan ahead".

The pandemic has been devastating for the travel sector. Tens of thousands of jobs have gone in the UK. Millions of Britons cancelled breaks because the health situation was in flux across the world.

But National Express now points to returning confidence to travel.

Travel to Europe
It's not just UK breaks that are selling. The UK's largest tour operator TUI, famous for its sun-drenched European beach holidays, says there has also been a change in the last fortnight.

"We're seeing a customer base or age group that wasn't booking before, that is starting to book," says Andrew Flintham the MD of TUI UK. "The over 50s, we assume, is on the back to the vaccine news."

Whilst TUI UK boss acknowledges that "the market is still depressed and it's not where we want it - we are seeing glimmers of hope."

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