Holidays bookings are on the up in the over-50 age bracket as “vaccine confidence” grows among older travellers.
After a devastating 2020, things are looking a little brighter for the travel industry this year.
National Express reports that coach holiday bookings made by those aged 65 and over have increased by 185 per cent year-on-year during the last two weeks.
“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” Jit Desai, head of holidays and travel at National Express, told BBC News.
“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.”
He said the vaccine has given older travellers “certainty and confidence”, allowing them to plan ahead.
Tui, the UK’s biggest tour operator, has reported a similar trend, with 50 per cent of current bookings made by over-50s – a bigger proportion than normal.
”We're seeing a customer base or age group that wasn't booking before, that is starting to book,“ said Andrew Flintham, MD of TUI UK.
“The over 50s, we assume, is on the back [of] the vaccine news.”
Although the climate is still challenging, he added there were now “glimmers of hope” on the horizon.
Mr Flintham said the company had also seen a trend of people booking holidays later in the summer or in early autumn, “hedging their bets”.
“People are booking longer holidays, we're seeing more people booking 10 or 11 or 14 nights rather than seven. People are maybe catching up on what they've missed,” he said. “I think the summer holiday is on.”
One couple in their 70s told the BBC they’d already booked five UK holidays in anticipation of their upcoming Covid vaccinations.
"We are raring to go once we've got that vaccine, we are really looking forward to it - both of us,” said Dawn and Ray from Hampshire.
“We are going to Wales, Leicestershire, to York where there is a mystery tour - and to the Cotswolds.”