European flight bookings reveal ‘London has fallen’
Flight booking data shows London has fallen to the bottom of the top 10 most booked European cities, as border restrictions and UK quarantine regulations choked travel, according to new research..
In the first half of June last year as the holiday season was in full swing, London was the most heavily booked city in Europe for any date of arrival, followed by Paris and Rome.
However, travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the quarantine rules imposed by the UK government, the capital has slumped to the bottom of the top 10.
While Europe has begun to relax travel restrictions and bookings have begun to pick-up, those for London have languished
Under pressure from the travel sector, the UK government finally looks set to announce ‘travel corridors’ to popular European summer hotspots such as France, Germany, Greece, Turkey and Italy. This would enable airlines to open flights for bookings to Brits eager to get away during the summer.
Lisbon meanwhile has soared to the top of the list of most booked European cities during the first half of June, compared to sitting close to the bottom in ninth place in 2019.
Portugal has been one of the first countries to establish enhanced hygiene and safety protocols to welcome tourists and has one of the top testing rates to control transmission.
According to the research, new tickets issued for future international travel to the European Union (EU) dropped by 84.4% in the first half of June compared to the same period in 2019, recovering from a 94.5% overall decline in May.
Meanwhile bookings to the UK plunged by a staggering 96.7% in the first half of June, almost unchanged from the precipitous 97.2% collapse in May.
New flight bookings for all international future departures from the EU slumped by 80.2% in the first half of June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, recovering from a hefty 92.3% decline in May.
By comparison, bookings from London only recovered to an 89.8% year on year decline during the first half of June, compared to a punishing 94.0% decline in May.
Last year, the UK attracted more than 40 million overseas visitors. This data shows that if the UK government continues to drag its heels in announcing the next steps for reopening the country, including the removal of barriers such as quarantine and establishing ‘air corridors’, it will have a devastating effect on the Travel & Tourism sector.