WTM Vision: No sign of Olympic rush yet

This year’s Olympics is not having any significant impact on booking volume, according to some of the country’s biggest outbound travel companies.

The managing director of Tui UK & Ireland, David Burling, said at the WTM Vision Conference: “We are not seeing any significant impact on bookings for the Olympic period.”

Paul Simmons, director UK market for easyJet agreed: “There is no change in numbers for the Olympic period. Where all the visitors are coming from, I don’t know but we will see,” he said.

While Tui and easyJet have not seen a huge increase in numbers for London-bound travellers, Expedia’s UK boss said the OTA is seeing a sharp increase in visitor numbers to other regional centres during the Games.

Andy Washington, Expedia’s managing director UK & Ireland said it was registering between 30-40% regional growth during the Olympic period.

“Savvy inbound customers are flying into Glasgow and other cities and travelling into London for certain days,” said Washington.

Caroline Bremner, head of travel & tourism research at Euromonitor International said 300,000 international visitors are expected for the Games, but added that domestic visitors will account for 70% of travellers to London during that period.

“Domestic visitors will be critical,” she said.

Despite the lack of a sharp increase in bookings so far, Burling however urged the industry to “put pressure on the authorities” to ensure that all UK airports “work “well” during the Games.

This comes after a number of MPs and airlines raised concerns that there will be major queues for visitors to clear immigration during the Olympic period.

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