Brits Booking Longer Breaks as Vacations Resume, Emirates Says
Vacationing Britons are taking longer overseas breaks as coronavirus travel curbs are relaxed, according to Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline.
Trips to Dubai -- traditionally a short-stay destination -- of between one and two weeks are up 11% compared with 2019 levels, Emirates said in a statement Wednesday. Holidays elsewhere are showing a 5% increase.
More than two-fifths of bookings over the Christmas period are for trips in excess of two weeks, and 20% for at least three. December reservations are exceeding pre-pandemic levels for long-distance leisure destinations including the Maldives and Mauritius, as well as Dubai itself, the company said.
Demand has surged since the U.K. largely opened up international travel in September, with passenger numbers at Emirates 69% higher in the last two weeks of October compared with the first half of September. The airline plans to resume flights to London Gatwick on Dec. 10, expanding its U.K. operation to six airports and 84 weekly flights.
The upbeat figures for Emirates come as spiraling coronavirus infection rates in Europe have raised concerns the travel rebound may be at risk. Ryanair Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said Tuesday steps such as a return to lockdown conditions in Austria mean airlines face a “fraught” period through Christmas.
Even so, “people are booking the holidays they wish they could have taken over the last 18 months, and going away for longer to make up for lost time,” said Richard Jewsbury, Emirates’ vice president for the U.K.
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