News that the older generation will be in line to be vaccinated first to combat Covid-19 is set to accelerate travel planning by over-50s.

Among non-cruisers, 23% say they will try an ocean cruise and 33% will opt for a river trip once a vaccine is available, early details of Silver Travel Advisor research reveals.

The findings from the first 400 respondents show how significant a role travel plays in the lives of the UK’s over-50s.

Almost three out of four older travellers – 74% – said they had most missed travelling abroad because of the pandemic.

Being able to see or hug family scored next highest at 65%, followed by 35% who missed travelling within the UK, and 33% who missed eating out and visiting pubs.

Parties, celebrating weddings and anniversaries, cultural visits – theatre, exhibitions, concerts – and general days out were missed less.

More than a third (40%) have holidays originally booked for 2020 shifted forward into 2021.

But a further 30% have made new 2021-22 holiday bookings since the first lockdown in March, 36% in a hotel or resort and 16% on ocean cruises, the second-highest scoring option.  A total of 79% of these new bookings are for overseas travel.

Financially, the over-50s remain relatively unscathed by Covid – only 7% say they have been hit hard – and 65% intend to spend as much (38%) or more (27%) on holidays in 2021 as they did in 2019.

Silver Travel Advisor managing director Debbie Marshall said: “The early findings from our latest survey into the impact of Covid-19 clearly show how fervently older people want to put overseas travel back in the centre of their lives.

“While many people have missed being able to hug their grandchildren during the pandemic, they have missed being able to travel abroad even more.

“We’re really encouraged by the news that the vaccine tests are showing positive results in the older age groups, and that they will be amongst the first to get the vaccine while people under 50 and with no medical problems are likely to be last in the queue.”

The full results of the Silver Travel Advisor survey will be published in December.