The latest air ticketing data from ForwardKeys paints an optimistic picture for the UK outbound travel market this Autumn Half-Term holiday period. Year-to-date tickets issued for international Half-Term travel from the UK are currently just 6% behind the comparative period in 2019 and 37% ahead of last year.
Intra-regional travel is +30% ahead of last year and 11% ahead of 2019. Top performing destinations can be found in southern European destinations like Spain +43%, Italy +15%, Portugal +41%, and Greece +62%.
Long-haul travel from the UK is +46% ahead of last year and just -16% behind 2019. Key destinations like the USA are behind 2019 levels by 27% and the UAE by 14%. India has gained market share versus 2019 to become the second largest long-haul destination, with a 20% growth on 2019 volumes; and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also performing very strongly, moving from the 12th largest destination in 2019 to 4th in 2023.
Know when to talk to your audience – Lead Booking times
“In Q1, tickets for travelling this upcoming Autumn Half-Term were 11% behind where they were in the same moment in 2019, whilst in Q2 tickets were just 4% behind highlighting an acceleration in recovery as we get closer to the travel dates,” says Luis Millan, Head of Research at ForwardKeys.
“That said, we are still ahead of the crucial period for booking, with a substantial share of bookings set to happen these weeks, as seen both in 2019 and 2022,” adds Millan.
When looking at the lead times of historical departures year-to-date the data shows that British holidaymakers are booking with longer anticipation this year, compared with both 2019 and 2022 – 31% of departures YTD had a 90+ day booking window, compared with just 24% in 2019 and 28% in 2022.
The 30–89-day window remains crucial, with a 37% share in 2023, compared with a 38% share in both 2019 and 2022. However, almost a third of all bookings tend to materialise in the last 30 days before the holiday period.
“ForwardKeys’ latest research shows how booking patterns vary depending on holiday periods and markets, highlighting how thanks to data, businesses can make the most of,” closes Millan from ForwardKeys.