Vacation bookings for the summer of 2022 are “considerably” ahead of normal, according to online travel agency On The Beach, as the prospect of a break in the sun this year recedes.
The Manchester-based company reported a 79% drop in revenue to Â£ 4.4million in the six months to March 31 as it felt the effect of travel restrictions. Its adjusted pre-tax loss declined to Â£ 21.6million from Â£ 34.1million, reflecting lower marketing spending.
Simon Cooper, the chief executive, said guests don’t normally book vacations a year in advance, but a growing number are now doing so in the hope that the coronavirus pandemic will have been brought under control by then . Spain, the Canary Islands, Greece and Turkey will be popular destinations next year.
“Reservation volumes for summer 2022 remain low, but are well ahead of normal business patterns, in part due to the early release of flights for next year by most major airlines,” a- he declared.
On The Beach decided on May 12 to stop selling overseas vacations for this summer amid uncertainty over travel restrictions. On that day, the UK government added Portugal to its green list of countries that do not require travelers to self-quarantine upon return, only to reverse the decision three weeks later, sparking frustration in the industry and among vacationers who had already booked.
“Considering the recent change in Portugal’s status from green to amber, the board is pleased to have taken this decision early, in order to prevent customers from suffering further turmoil and disappointment,” said Cooper.
The update comes a day after Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay in the final easing of coronavirus restrictions in England, a move that is expected to deal another blow to consumer confidence.
Cooper said the recovery in vacation demand “will likely take some time and the consumer environment will continue to be difficult â.
He welcomed a regulatory investigation into British Airways and Ryanair into their refusal to offer customers reimbursement for flights they could not legally take.