ForwardKeys, the leading travel and analytics firm based in Spain, latest research reveals that seat capacity for intra-European arrivals during Easter is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels.
The destinations with the largest increases in air supply (out of destinations with a share >2 %) are Turkey, +26% up on 2019 levels, followed by Portugal (+12%) and Poland (+9%).
This growth is being reflected in other countries across Europe too. Greece (+7%), Ireland (+4%), Italy (+4%), and Spain (+1%) are also seeing increases in their scheduled flight capacity for travel this Easter compared to the same period pre-pandemic.
Overall, tickets confirmed for intra-European arrivals this Easter currently stand 15% behind 2019 levels, whilst long-haul arrivals to Europe are 17% down.
Looking at the most resilient source markets, the UK tops the charts marking a growth of 12% vs 2019. Portugal and Ireland are other origin markets growing on pre-pandemic levels, each by 1%.
“We finally see the comeback of some of the largest European source markets such as the UK, Germany and Spain,” says Juan A. Gomez, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys.
“What is particularly encouraging about this strong rebound is the resilience of the British holidaymakers, especially given the high levels of inflation and economic uncertainty in Britain, as well as the turmoil caused in the past months by the local transport´s inability to cope with demand that has resulted in scenes of chaos at airports, cancelled flights and strikes. Destinations betting on British tourists will need to be prepared for any eventuality”, highlights Gomez.
Spain is in hot demand by UK travellers
When concentrating on the figures from the UK as an origin market for Easter travel, the travel intent to Spain is apparent and on the rise.
ForwardKeys flight search data shows that since the beginning of 2023 for travel during Easter that Spain is the number one most sought destination, representing 24% of all UK searches to Europe.
As we speak, arrivals from the UK to Spain this Easter are set to grow by 16% vs 2019. Family-sized groups (3-5) are the most resilient group size, 52% up on 2019 levels, whilst singles are also marking growth on pre-pandemic levels (+8%).
“Something to take note of if you are a hotelier or tour operator in Spain this Easter is that premium cabin class travel to Spain from the UK is up by 35% on pre-pandemic levels this year. Plus, more families are on the move, so what are you offering to entice this audience better?” says Gomez.
Other Southern European destinations like Italy, Portugal and Greece are amongst the top 10 most searched for, highlighting the continuing demand for sun and beach destinations.