People over the age of 50, who are among the first to get their Covid-19 jabs in the UK, will be first in line to take hassle-free vacations in 2021. Rose Dykins reports
At the time of writing, all UK citizens over 50-years-old had been invited to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Since the vaccine roll-out began, travel companies have seen bookings rocket from this demographic, in line with people feeling more confident they will be able to travel safely again.
Back in January, several UK tour operators saw an uptick in bookings from the over-50s market, despite the fact the country’s vaccine programme was just starting. For example, a spokesperson from luxury travel agent Abercrombie and Kent told The Telegraph that enquiries from their over-50s market was doubling week-on-week.
Meanwhile, Sandals and Beaches Resorts said 68 per cent of booking were being made by customers in the 50-plus age bracket – compare with 35 per cent in October (before the vaccine was available in the UK).
That same month, Saga Travel, which specialises in over-50s travel announced that all customers would need to be fully vaccinated before joining one of its cruises. As a result, the company has delayed restarting its travel packages until May, giving people more time to get their jabs before booking their next trip.
“The health and safety of our customers has always been our number one priority at Saga, so we have taken the decision to require everyone travelling with us to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19,” a statement from Saga reads.
Vaccines mean vacations
Now that the majority of the UK’s citizens over 50 have had the opportunity to get inoculated, they represent the largest demographic of “Vaccine VIPs” in the country.
They will be in the most privileged position to travel, facing fewer restrictions to entry in certain countries, especially with the promise of vaccine passports.
The UK government now needs to make a decision about when holidays can begin (at the moment May 17 is the date everyone is hoping will give the “green light” but it could be later in the year).
While millennials and Gen Z citizens in the UK will still have the option to travel (when non-essential travel is allowed again) until they too are vaccinated, they will have to navigate inconvenient and expensive quarantines and PCR testing.
What’s more, these younger demographics are more likely to have been hit harder financially by the effects of the pandemic, while the over-50s includes retired middle class citizens who may have more spare capital to spend on travel.
This will inevitably create a rift, though, between the generations. Patrick O’Flynn says in The Telegraph: “Watching the 50+ ‘Golden Years’ brigade letting the good times roll this summer thanks to their vaccine passports, while the young remain marooned and miserable, will be a sure-fire recipe for growing resentment and social instability.”
Overall, the combination of the vaccinated status and spending power of the over-50s market is proving to be an important catalyst in the travel industry’s recovery after Covid-19.
Globetrender predicts that this year, the “grey pound” will be a big influence on travel companies, and that they should target their marketing and offering to attract these travellers. Companies that already serve them will be among the first to bounce back.