Chalkmarks: Travel boom for Britain in 2021

TRAVEL and tourism in the UK and Germany are set to outpace the rest of Europe, according to hotel industry predictions.

The latest forecast from data firm STR reveals the two countries could expect a bumper summer due to high demand from business travellers and strong domestic markets.

The first hint of a rebound is expected to begin in late April as the coronavirus comes under control.

STR also anticipate that travel overall will be stronger this summer than in 2020 – with domestic tourism expected to reach 2019 levels.

While London hotels are currently struggling, the capital is expected to see growth from business trips. And in Glasgow hotels are already sold out in November ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference.

STR’s international business managing director Robin Rossmann warned that the next few months would be tough for the hotel industry, while Covid-19 cases remained high and the impact of vaccines started to kick in, but that bookings would come back quickly once confidence returns.

He said: “[There is ]not a lot of confidence in consumers booking out there. Business on the books is below 10 per cent out in most places. There is and will be a huge amount of pent-up demand which will be released quickly as soon as there is confidence and the ability to travel.

“I expect the summer of 2021 to be far stronger than the summer of 2020 and I think in many markets it will be stronger than 2019 and one of our stronger summers for a long time because of that pent-up demand.”

Despite the optimism Mr Rossmann predicted that Southern Europe would struggle more than Northern Europe this year.

He said: “The key summer months are what drive Southern Europe. They tend to have an early start from Easter and I’m not sure things will be sufficiently open by then so I think it will be a tougher year in Southern Europe than in the north.”

He also said that worldwide travel would not recover fully until 2024 due airlines reducing their passenger capacity which impacts international tourism.

He said: “Recovery will take a long time. We are still forecasting for most to recover by 2024 and that is because while there will be the initial rebound there undoubtedly will be challenges associated with changes in capacity of airline travel.

“There is no doubt that capacity in supply of airline travel will come down and that’s going to push prices up and mean there’s less passengers coming through, less international demand coming through, it will take longer to recover.” 

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