According to TUI, Belgians are increasingly attracted by holidays during the second half of the year and close to their home

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Analysis of reservations registered in January and February

Traditionally, the months of January and February are important booking months for the summer vacation (April to October). Early bird travellers are especially attracted by the many advantages of early booking and the wide selection. TUI has analysed the bookings of these two months and notices new trends in the behaviour of Belgian travellers, very different from other years but which can be explained by the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

TUI has recorded 60% fewer bookings this year compared to the excellent months of January and February 2020. The desire to travel remains however very present: in December 2020, a TUI survey revealed that 80% of customers questioned wanted to leave this year. been but they were waiting to be more certain about the possibility
to travel before booking.

Bookings recorded in January and February 2021 highlight new trends in the behaviour of Belgian travellers. One in three holidaymakers (30%) paid for their trip with a Corona voucher received in 2020. These travellers 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.

Half of the couples who booked are over 55 years old, which represents an increase of 20% compared to other years. They are among the first age groups to receive the vaccine and hope to be able to travel safely in the near future.

TUI also notes a postponement of travel 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 current 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 little success due to the ban on non-essential travel.

TUI also notes a big change in the choice of the type of vacation compared to summer 2019: no less than 23% of travellers this year choose a vacation close to home (less than 500 km from their home), while ‘they were only 10% in 2019. Winter sports and city trips are the big losers: ski holidays had to be cancelled, including Easter holidays, while barely 2% of travellers booked a city trip over the past two months, down from 8% in 2019.

These figures illustrate the exceptional nature of the reservations recorded in January and February. However, TUI expects a significant surge in bookings once the current travel uncertainty is lifted and Belgians, especially if they are vaccinated, will soon want to taste the pleasure of travelling again.

Current top 5 air travel holidays for the summer season: Spain, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Portugal.

Current top 5 car holidays for the summer season: France, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Italy.

March 17, 2021

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