Holidays 2021: Covid vaccine hope sees Britons book ‘once in a lifetime trips’

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Earlier this month, it was announced that coronavirus vaccine trials had been largely successful in a huge boost for the struggling travel industry. The announcement led to tour companies and online travel agents reporting an immediate spike in searches, bookings and enquiries. Expedia reported a 50 percent increase in interest for accommodation, 80 percent of which was for international travel.

Meanwhile, travel search site KAYAK.co.uk saw a 76 percent increase in international travel searches for Christmas when compared to the week before (November 2 & 4).

Popular search engine Skyscanner also saw a spike in UK searches for travel next spring and summer 2021.

The company saw searches for travel between April 1 and August 31 go up by 48 percent week on week.

Despite the surge, prices for travel in 2021 remain much cheaper than usual.

For example, flights to Spain in April are available from £19 (as of November 11) compared to the average price of £146.

Flights to Greece in May 2021 are available for just £41 (as of November 11), compared to the average price for economy class, return travel which is £249.

Unsurprisingly, according to Skyscanner, the most popular European destinations for summer 2021 are destinations in Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

The top destinations in Europe are: Faro, Malaga, Dalaman, Palma and Ibiza.

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Meanwhile, the top long-haul destinations are Orlando, New York, Dubai, Bali and Bangkok.

Online travel agent TravelUp which offers value flights and hotels, has seen a similar trend with people booking the holidays that they missed out on this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Express.co.uk spoke to TraveUp’s Director of Marketing and Communications Craig Ashford.

TravelUp has seen a lot of business for the VFR market – “visiting friends and relatives”.

A lot of their more popular destinations during the pandemic have been Islamabad, Istanbul, Lahore, and Karachi – places people typically visit to see friends and relatives.

Ashford explained that once a second lockdown was announced in England, people were desperate to leave the country by November 8.

“Predominantly, it was the VFR market. People trying to get out because they know they could get out there, they could go and stay with friends and relatives and they wouldn’t have to worry.”

Currently, England’s lockdown means that English residents cannot travel abroad or within the UK unless it’s for essential purposes.

He added: “What we’re seeing is people looking at summer 2021 and we’re now starting to see those more traditional destinations that you’d expect to see.

“We’re seeing Orlando, the likes of South Africa and Kenya.

“From the package side of things, we’re seeing that once in a lifetime experience.

“People being cooped up and now deciding that they want to go and do something special for their next holiday because either they’ve missed it this year and have that extra budget to spend or they’ve just come to the conclusion that life’s too short.”

“Caribbean is also high on the list – so we’ve seen a switch to what we would class as our conventional market for travel in June, July and August 2021.”

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