Nine consecutive weeks of passenger growth have helped to turn Summer 2019 fortunes around for the UK travel market. As we fast approach the peak season departures during the six week school holiday period, departures for Summer 2019 are up +1% against Summer 2018.
This is a huge turn around, after bookings during the first four months of the year lagged at -7% amid Brexit uncertainty. With a continued focus on the lates market, and set against a weaker lates market for Summer 2018, Summer 2019 could well end up in growth - but this has come at a cost to the industry.
The very tough trading environment has had a significant impact on cash flow with bookings coming in later. This has meant the industry has had to price holidays extremely competitively to attract bookings, with the average selling price per person up just £2 during this nine-week period and up £14 for the season to date.
Greece and Bulgaria have been the star performers for the EU destinations during this nine-week period, joining Turkey and Tunisia (who show continued resurgence) as the top four destinations based on incremental passenger gains.
With the Brexit deadline pushed back to 31 October, this does look like it is affecting bookings for Winter 2019/20 and Summer 2020, with some consumers delaying their bookings whilst they wait for more clarity. Early bookings for Winter 2019/20 are down -4% year on year, with Summer 2020 down –2%.
Source – GfK Travel Insights
GfK’s Travel Insights is a point of sale service covering over 15 million annual outbound holiday and leisure passengers from the UK, collated on a weekly basis from a combination of tour operator and travel agent sales.