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Manchester Airport saw 12% growth in May with 2.5 million passengers added as a host of new routes took off and now has over 26 million passengers using the airport. London Stansted saw nearly 2.3 million passengers pass through the airport in May. This shows an increase of 7% over the same month in 2016 and beating the previous monthly high set just last year. Gatwick had the busiest ever May as long-haul destinations drive growth, with more than four million passengers passing through the airport in 2016 - 6.7% up on the previous year.
Forward bookings for travel to the UK during the summer peak remain healthy. Advance bookings for trips to London in July and August were up 12% at the end of last week compared with the same point last year. Airlines and hoteliers reported that tourists were being drawn to the UK in huge numbers at the start of the year, helped by the fall in the value of the pound following last June’s Brexit vote.
Market analyst, ForwardKeys are forecasting a hot summer for travel this year based on the results of analysis of 16 million booking transactions a day. Overall bookings for departure in June, July and August are up 6.4% on the same time last year, according to the FowardKeys data. The same research showed there is also very substantial growth in outbound bookings from the so-called BRIC developing countries, with Brazil 40.6% ahead, Russia 31.3% ahead, India 10.7% ahead and China 7.7% ahead. A regional analysis shows South America is up 20.0% and Eastern Europe 18.2%. They are followed by North America and southeast Asia, ahead by 7.6% and 6.3% respectively.
The UK fares better as a destination, according to ForwardKeys, with sterling’s post-Brexit referendum collapse seeing it surge by 18% as a destination. All the other major destinations are experiencing strong booking interest. Summer bookings for Italy are 6.8% up, Spain is up 13.0%, France 7.3% and Thailand 3.2%. The hottest destinations are Greece which is up 21.8%, Indonesia 17.4%, Russia 16.7%, and Portugal 14.8%.
Olivier Jager, chief executive of ForwardKeys, said: “Except for inbound travel to the US, we are currently looking at a good year for travel, with more people than ever being willing to fly long haul for their summer holidays. One needs to take some of the bigger percentage uplifts with a pinch of salt because in the case of markets such as Russia and Brazil, what we are really seeing is a recovery following previous difficult years. Nevertheless, bookings for future travel are significantly ahead of where they were last year for the same period. As a general rule, the further people fly, the more money they spend during their trip so if things continue as they are, managers of businesses that rely on tourists, such as hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions, should be wearing smiles in September.”
*Source: MAG 2017