Making things seem better than they are

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Remember those stories of a week ago suggesting that bookings/flights/airport numbers were up by 400% or whatever?

Ryanair plane ascending
It only sees a 7 point percentage rise over the last months in flights in August – peak holiday timef

Cynical readers will know by now to distrust figures without understanding how they were reached.

And, again, it looks as though there is a different story underlying the percentages.

I’ve no doubt that there has been an increase but it isn’t much of a one judging by evidence from a few other sources.

Ryanair has announced that it has been operating about 60% of its flights and that, in August, it will operate 67% of its flights.

From that you can deduce that a greater number of British and EU people are travelling but that it still hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels. It is much lower than people were forecasting just a few months ago.

Greece’s chief economic advisor to the prime minister told Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg TV that it saw less than 60% of visitors in in the last couple of months compared to 2019. There is still a continuing rise in tourism numbers to Greece he said, but it tells us that tourism isn’t anywhere near like returning to normal even outside the UK.

Those pictures we saw at the weekend of Heathrow being crowded suggested that it was busy.

But it didn’t tell the whole tell as the airport and a government minister was quick to tell us.

The retina scanning machines were at fault so that led to longer queues of incoming passengers. For outgoing passengers the document checking contributes to delays.

Given that this happened when far fewer people are travelling than back in the same period in 2019 and you can see that any reported increases in travel need to be properly understood.

Why should we be told that there has been a 400% upturn?

Obviously to suggest to us that things are returning to normal and that we should rush out and book before all the spots we might be considering are full up.

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