Brexit uncertainty leads to 4.6% drop in summer travel from the UK to EU countries

EUROPE. Summer season bookings from the UK to European Union (EU) countries are down 4.6% on last year amid Brexit uncertainty, according to data from analyst ForwardKeys. Its analysis of tour operator bookings for UK outbound travel from January to the end of October 2019 suggests that there will be flat growth overall this summer. Bookings to the rest of the world (non-EU countries) are ahead 13.8%.

The total summer season outlook is behind 0.2% on last year.

Source (all charts): ForwardKeys.
Click on image to enlarge. Air travel between the UK and EU countries accounted for 70% of Britain's total traffic in 2018, ForwardKeys noted, with outbound first quarter booking levels crucial to yearly results. The analyst said European summer travel was 59% booked by the end of March last year.

Leading European destinations have taken a hit from waning British demand in 2019. Spain, with a 53% EU market share, is currently behind 7% on UK summer bookings compared to last year. Greece (2.7%); Cyprus (6.9%); and Portugal (10.6%) are also all behind.

Brexit uncertainty leads to 4.6% drop in summer travel from the UK to EU countries

Click on image to enlarge.

ForwardKeys, which analyses 17 million booking transactions a day, said its data showed that UK travellers were instead heading to other destinations in the southern Mediterranean. Turkey, which has a 40% share of non-EU holiday bookings, is seeing demand ahead 31% on last year. Tunisia, Egypt and Jamaica are currently also doing well, the analyst noted.

Brexit uncertainty leads to 4.6% drop in summer travel from the UK to EU countries

Click on image to enlarge.

"These trends are very much in line with those observed over the summer of 2018, when security concerns in Turkish, North African and Middle Eastern destinations started to fade," ForwardKeys commented. EU bookings to the UK have slowed considerably in the first quarter of 2019, but the data suggested a brighter Easter outlook, with bookings currently ahead 7.7%. The major origin markets of Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Spain and Italy are all showing growth.

Brexit uncertainty leads to 4.6% drop in summer travel from the UK to EU countries

Click on image to enlarge.

Growth in scheduled seat capacity on direct flights to the UK from the EU is also set to improve this summer.

"Uncertainty over Brexit is clearly affecting thinking about holiday travel plans," commented ForwardKeys VP Insights Olivier Ponti. "But there's still plenty of confidence in the market, reflected in increased seat capacity.

UK-EU air travel accounts for a big proportion of the UK's total and that's likely to remain unchanged post-Brexit, whenever that happens."

Brexit uncertainty leads to 4.6% drop in summer travel from the UK to EU countries

Click on image to enlarge.

Brexit uncertainty leads to 4.6% drop in summer travel from the UK to EU countries

Click on image to enlarge.

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