Was it the year of staycations?

By | Category: Travel news

With international travel so severely restricted due to lockdowns, quarantines and other imposed regulations you might wonder whether there was much international travel.

Eden Project
the Eden Project in Cornwall. How many od us took a staycation?

IATA, for example, estimates that 97% of flights were cancelled and TUI said in its trading update last month that it had taken just 1.4 million people abroad between mid-June and the end of August. That equated to about 15% of the capacity that they had originally planned. And those figures are based on all TUI activities not just those in the UK.

In the light of that I wonder how to understand the claim by lastminute.com who has issued a press release with the first sentence reading, “International holidays continue to blow domestic getaways out of the water… putting promises that the UK could become a “staycation nation” to bed.”

Could it be that lastminute.com bucked the trend of the rest of the industry? Or are early figures that are available misleading us?

The company goes on to say that in September, “94% of all package holiday bookings (flight+hotel / flight+train) were for spots abroad – a drop of just 3% from 2019 – with the Turkish Riviera and Greek islands, including Kos and Rhodes, proving most popular with holidaymakers. The number of domestic hotel bookings, meanwhile, rose by just 3% in 2020 (67% from 64%).”

So I am not comparing like with like. TUI’s figures were for an earlier period. Lastminute.com’s being for September isn’t revealing any summer figures at all just what happened after summer and after the time when the schools re-opened. The company is also being misleading by using a package holiday figure for holidays abroad but a hotel bookings figure for staycations.

We also don’t know how many bookings the company is talking about although it admits that “holiday booking numbers are much lower overall than last year.”

We also don’t know whether it offered more overseas options that domestic ones. Had it done so then the figures would be skewed

Comparing apples and oranges is, as we all know, dubious.

But the company does note a trend which most other companies are seeing. We are booking much closer to the time of departure rather than planning and booking months ahead. That surely is a feature of quarantines and restrictions suddenly being introduced.

The question tour operators and airlines want to know about us is whether we will continue the habit of booking at the last minute when normalcy returns.

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