Expedia has reported evidence of pent-up demand building as the UK’s re-opening of travel is set to start next week.
With a limited number of destinations opening, including Portugal, Iceland and Israel, from Monday travel firms are hoping for more countries to be added to the UK’s ‘green list’.
Significant uncertainty continues to surround prospects for the key summer travel period and this week On The Beach announced it was suspending sales to the end of August.
However, interest among British holidaymakers in booking overseas holidays is gathering momentum according to the leading global OTA.
Cyril Ranque, president, Travel Partners Group at Expedia Group, said: “UK travellers are on their marks and waiting for the starting pistol.
“There is clearly a lot of pent-up demand – in the past week, we have seen more interest in the last two weeks of May than for the whole month of June, suggesting that travellers have itchy feet and are eager to get away as soon as restrictions are lifted.
“The increased interest has been steadily building over recent weeks, but during the week that the UK Government confirmed its plans for May 17, interest went up sharply, with a 55 per cent week on week increase for dates between May 17 and the end of August.”
Ranque added that domesic holidays remain the favoured option for late spring and early summer as consumers await further news of destinations with reduced travel restrictions.
“In the short-term staycations are still the top choice for UK travellers, with 80% of interest for late May dates being for domestic destinations.
“This steadily decreases to 55% in August, suggesting that while there is a thirst for international travel in the summer holidays, consumers are biding their time and waiting for the details of further changes in restrictions.
“For travel businesses, this means there is still a lot of uncertainty. Although consumers clearly want to travel, when and where they go is very much undecided and there are still a lot of decisions to be made.
“The patterns of who is looking for what will continue to change very quickly as new announcements are made so accommodation providers and other travel businesses will need to have a close eye on the data if they are going to be seen by their target guests, attract them and secure their business. Those who do that will recover ahead of the market.”