Dubbed Sunshine Saturday by the UK travel sector, the primary Saturday of the Recent Yr is generally the preferred day for booking a break. And agents have reported a stampede, with some seeing demand soar 500 percent in comparison with the identical period last 12 months.
Hays Travel said Saturday was so busy many of the firm’s high street stores prolonged their opening hours yesterday to satisfy demand.
Online contact centres may have prolonged hours for the following six-week booking peak.
Dame Irene Hays, chair and owner of Hays, the UK’s largest independent travel agent, said: “Despite the cost-of-living challenges, the final thing people appear to want to provide up is their annual holiday.
“Now we have seen a particularly busy to begin to the height booking season and have already got customers on the lookout for last minute sunshine, summer holidays, worldwide cruises and city breaks right across 2023, and even for 2 years ahead for Lapland adventures at Christmas in 2024.
“Remembering this time last 12 months, when the Omicron variant restricted travel bookings for the primary two weeks, we’re feeling optimistic.”
The highest destination for a direct escape is Spain, followed by Tenerife and Lanzarote.
There may be also an unusually high variety of bookings for Italy, specifically Rome, in February, together with Recent York, a more traditional Valentine’s Day destination.
Spain, Turkey, Portugal, and Greece remain favourite summer destinations, with Recent York and Orlando the highest long-haul trips.
Richard Slater, managing director of Henbury Travel in Macclesfield, said: “You’d think there can be a drop-off due to the associated fee of living crisis…but growth has been good.”
Gemma Antrobus, chairwoman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, added: “Demand is larger than I’ve seen it for a very long time.”
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of trade body Abta, suggested consumers were keeping one eye on costs by choosing all-inclusive deals and occurring fewer, longer holidays.