Travel Counsellors’ managing director is warning of a “potential capacity issue” in summer 2022 as consumer confidence begins to grow in international travel and customers continue to book in advance.
The group, which has 1,500 home-based travel agent franchisees in the UK, reported its second highest trading week since the start of the pandemic last week – before the latest traffic light updates were confirmed.
It is reporting “considerable demand” for both Spain and Greece and predicts an “upsurge” in bookings to France after it moved off the so-called ‘amber-plus’ list; and to the USE, which is to move from red to amber.
Greece overtook Spain as the most-booked summer 2021 destination last week, when speculation grew that Spain may have been due to join France on the ‘amber-plus’ list – which it did not.
Travel Counsellors said 16% of all its new holiday bookings made in the week commencing July 26 were for Greek destinations, surpassing Spain (15%) and UK staycations (15%).
Last month, Spain had emerged as the most-booked destination, accounting for 29% of Travel Counsellors bookings, ahead of UK domestic bookings in second place.
The company reported a 39% upsurge of new bookings for summer 2022 – with Greece, the US and Spain popular.
It also saw a 20% increase in new bookings for winter 2021-22, led by interest in the US, the Maldives and Barbados.
Kirsten Hughes, UK managing director at Travel Counsellors, said: “With Spain and Greece remaining on the ‘amber list’, we are experiencing a considerable demand for both countries, in particular Greece, which has become our most popular summer sun destination.
“We also expect an upsurge in bookings to France now it’s moved from ‘amber-plus’ to amber, as well as the UAE which has moved from ‘red’ to ‘amber’, meaning that Britons will no longer need to quarantine on return.
“On the whole we feel the latest news is certainly a positive step forward, as the green list increases and there are more countries turning to amber from red.
However, she said: “People still need to ensure they are aware of the FCDO advice on entry requirements, as we await the UAE to align with the latest traffic light news for example.
“Our latest stats also show that customers are booking well ahead, which may bring a potential capacity issue for summer 2022, as holidaymakers are booking their breaks now instead of in early January.”
Hughes said Travel Counsellors agents “are in the best position to help customers navigate through the current challenges”.