Uncertainty about Brexit has led “UK holidaymakers to turn away from the EU” and caused EU bookings to Britain to “plunge”.
That is according to industry-bookings analyst ForwardKeys which reported: “Summer bookings from the UK to EU countries are lagging 4.6% on last year.”
ForwardKeys insights vice-president Olivier Ponti presented the latest flight-booking data at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) global summit in Seville.
He reported: “EU bookings to the UK slowed considerably in the first quarter of this year. Air bookings from the EU to the UK plunged.”
However, Ponti noted: “For the Easter period, UK inbound [travel] appears unaffected, with bookings ahead 7.7% and the major origin markets – Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Spain and Italy – all showing growth.”
Easter fell at the end of March last year but will be near the end of April this year.
Ponti also reported: “Top European destinations have taken a hit from waning British demand. Uncertainty over Brexit is clearly affecting people’s thinking about holiday plans.
“Spain is currently 7.0% behind on UK summer bookings compared to last year. Greece is 2.7% behind, Cyprus 6.9% behind and Portugal 10.6% behind.”
He drew the figures from the latest booking data from industry analyst GfK. These show bookings to non-EU destinations up by almost 14% year on year, reflecting a shift back to Turkey and Tunisia and away from the Balearics and Canary Islands.
Ponti said: “Turkey is seeing demand ahead 31% on last year. Tunisia, Egypt and Jamaica are also doing very well.”
He added: “There is still plenty of confidence in the market, reflected in increased seat capacity.”
GfK has reported UK outbound holiday bookings for the summer 2019 season to date up 1% year on year overall.
Ponti noted airlines have increased capacity on EU-UK flights this summer despite a slowdown in the rate of capacity growth.