The vaccination campaign suggests a semblance of a return to normal life in the coming months. And, with the lifting of the various containment measures, the authorization to travel again. When? The Belgians remain cautious and are betting above all on the second part of the year. Tui looked at the bookings currently recorded and observed, first of all, a sharp decline in travel intentions in the short to medium term. While January and February are generally a period of intense reservations linked to promotions applied at the beginning of the year, 2021 starts in minor mode. Tui thus recorded 60% fewer reservations in January-February 2021 compared to 2020.
In addition, a third of these bookings were made with corona vouchers received in 2020. These travelers used their voucher for a new reservation, while relying on the exchange guarantee which allows them to change their minds and modify their reservation up to two times.
Another remarkable fact: the 20% increase in the number of bookings from people over 55, which is explained by the fact that they will be among the first to be vaccinated and therefore hope to be able to travel again.
Tui also notes a postponement of trips from spring to fall. In January and February 2019, 48% of bookings were for a departure in April, May or June and only 11% were for September or October. This year, these proportions are completely different: 26% of reservations concern a departure in spring and 28% in autumn. These postponements are explained by the belief that the vaccination will be completed this fall.
For families, school holidays are essential and Tui notes a peak in bookings in July and August. The Easter holidays, traditionally the second most important holiday period of the year, have had little success due to the ban on non-essential travel.
As for destinations, 23% of holidaymakers opt for a stay close (less than 500 km) from their home, whereas they were only 10% in 2019.
What is certain is that Belgians are hungry for travel and are waiting for the lifting of the bans and, above all, the vaccine, to be able to book their stay again. According to an Abto survey, three out of four Belgians want to go on vacation this year, half of them already this summer. Due to the lack of perspective and clarity, 64% still haven’t booked. But, once decided, we want to make the most of it: the vacation budget increases by 16% per person.