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Brexit leads UK travellers to shun EU

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.

MoreSaga warns Brexit a ‘clear dampener’ on 2019 holiday bookings

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