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Turkey, Greece and Portugal are top half-term hotspots.

As the UK government simplifies travel restrictions and many winter sun destinations are now available for travel bookings, tourist hotspots such as Turkey, Egypt, Portugal and Greece have seen a surge in demand for this October’s half-term break. 

Following the mid-September announcement when the UK’s travel traffic light system was updated – to be replaced from 4 October by a system where foreign countries are now listed as either ‘red’ or OK for travel and from the end of October travellers will be able to swap the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test.

Since then, operators and airlines have added capacity to Turkey, Spain and Portugal as well as ski resorts, amid a surge in bookings for overseas holidays across key European destinations. 

Jet2 has restarted flights and holidays to Antalya and Dalaman amid reports of overall bookings spiking by more than 250% compared to its summer bookings performance. 

Jet2 CEO, Steve Heapy said that Turkey has been at the top of the winter sun holiday list, calling it an ‘exceptionally popular’ destination, especially since the UK government’s travel announcement. 

EasyJet is adding 51,000 seats to beach destinations for October with its top destinations identified as Alicante, Majorca and Faro. EasyJet holidays has already reported an increase in October half-term bookings to Majorca, Antalya, Tenerife, and Sharm el Sheikh leading the way.

A new customer survey by Jet2 suggests confidence about travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels following the easing of international travel restrictions. When it comes to confidence about booking and travelling on holidays this summer and beyond, almost two-thirds (62%) say they feel confident – the highest level since early 2020. The same percentage of people said that they are eager to get away as soon as they can.

Forward bookings insight

According to the latest forward bookings data from Echolution’s flights data insights partner, ForwardKeys, travel to Turkey is seeing a rebound, compared to pre-pandemic levels. For UK bookings to Antalya, the last week of October 2021 is up +57.4% vs the same week in 2019. 

According to a new report from the European Travel Council (ETC), the Mediterranean hotspots such as Italy, Spain, Greece, France and Croatia make the top destinations on European’s travel wishlists for bookings this winter. The survey also reveals that outdoor and leisure tourism are the most popular type of tourism for this period, with 38% of the ‘early-bird travellers’ saying they plan to travel for sunbathing and beach pursuits.

Ski season 2022 uptick

EasyJet is banking on a bumper winter ski season. The airline will be offering more than one million seats to destinations including Geneva, Grenoble, Lyon, Salzburg, Turin and Innsbruck.

According to the latest forward bookings data from ForwardKeys, travel to the French Alps is seeing a huge uptick, compared to pre-pandemic levels. For the second week of December 2021, bookings from across Europe into the regional skiing hotspot are up 49% compared to the same week in 2019. 

Echolution takeout: 

The latest UK Government travel update has boosted the confidence of tourists and now pent-up demand for travel is being realised with a surge in bookings for winter sun. 

Travel retail brands can capitalise on this pent-up demand for holiday spending by targeting travellers with dedicated retail tourism advertising campaigns.