Operators offering battlefield tours have reported strong growth in sales as the 65th of anniversary of the Second World War D-Day landings approaches.
A combination of the landmark anniversary on June 6 and fears that many veterans will not live to see the 70th anniversary have boosted sales, with some Normandy hotels selling out a year ago.
Soverign War Tours owner Mark Golloghly has seen sales double for this summer, while tours that focus on the actual landings are completely sold out.
To mark the anniversary, re-enactment camps have been set up, while 25 fireworks displays have been arranged along the coast at the stroke of midnight as June 6 begins.
Golloghly said: “Because a lot of veterans will not make it to the 70th anniversary, they are making this one a big one.”
Leger Holidays trade sales manager Ashley Dellow said the tour operator has seen an 18% increase in D-Day tours, while overall sales for both First and Second World War tours are up 20%.
Dellow said: “The two significant world war anniversaries – the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War last year, and the forthcoming 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings – have fuelled public interest in family history, which in turn has led to an increased number of bookings.”
However, a survey for Leger undertaken in March of 1,000 children under the age of 16, has revealed both an alarming disinterest and lack of knowledge of the Second World War.
As many as 22% did not know of their family’s wartime involvement; 27% did not care if the experiences were forgotten; while 13% even thought a third world war had happened.
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