Luxury tour operator If Only says its average booking value has risen by a third (34%) since the beginning of the year as clients are booking longer holidays.
Thanks to the prime minister’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown, it anticipates further rises in sales and a “busy month ahead”.
The Maldives, Barbados, Dubai, Antigua, Mexico and Mauritius are the top sellers, and it predicts a surge in weddings and honeymoons, after many ceremonies were cancelled in 2020.
Gordon McCreadie, If Only general manager, said: “That glimmer of hope, and action plan out of the current situation, has given everyone the pick-me-up they needed.
“We’ve had a really positive start to 2021, with our average booking value shooting up, and an interesting move towards longer durations.
“Our average length of stay has increased by 20%…perhaps people are compensating for possible time spent quarantining or awaiting test results in the destination, or maybe just keen to get away for longer, given that they’ve been deprived of their usual travel habits for so long.
“The Maldives continues to steal the top spot, with a huge spike in demand for exclusive resorts where guests can opt for secluded pool villas, personal dining experiences and private excursions, allowing them to escape the crowds.
“Places like Mauritius are now known to be rolling out their vaccine programme rapidly, reinstalling consumer confidence in the destination.
“We have seen a huge volume of enquiries and bookings for weddings in 2023 in particular, as recently engaged couples struggle to find availability in the UK for their special day, and make the decision to say ‘I do’ abroad.”
He said cruise sales for early 2022 are also increasing, along with more complex touring itineraries in the US and Canada “suggesting that people really are keen to get back out there and treat themselves to something extra-special”.
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