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55-Plus Group Lends Optimism To Travel Operators

British travelers age 55 and older buoyed by confidence in newly approved COVID-19 vaccinations are driving a powerful surge in trip bookings, the Financial Times reports.

The paper cited positive data from a large swath of UK tour operators.

Among the figures noted by the Financial Times: Saga said bookings made during the first two weeks of January were twice those made during the first two weeks of September. Hotelplan, which sells Inghams walking trips, said bookings for the just-ended week were up 57 percent from the prior week.

Bus operator National Express reported a 185 percent increase in bookings for spring and summer trips compared with bookings made during the same period in 2020. The Financial Times quotes the company’s director of holidays and travel, Jit Desai, as having said in reference to the country’s currency and older spenders that the renewed spending on travel has been driven by “the grey pound’s confidence around vaccines.”

The paper quoted the chief executive of sites including cottages.com as having said January started off with bookings down around around 50 percent compared to the same timeframe in January 2020, but they appeared to have largely bounced back.

“The vaccine is definitely part of it,” said the chief executive, Henrik Kjellberg. The Financial Times said Kjellberg also attributed some increase in domestic travel to the elimination of some travel-abroad options.

The paper stated that Viking Cruises reported heavy bookings for four-month cruises scheduled for 2022 and 2023 and in the meantime has added safety measures such as daily COVID-19 testing with the highly reliable PCR method and air-purification systems.

Meanwhile, the European Union has stepped up efforts to increase the rates of vaccination among Eurozone residents.

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