Hostelworld bookings almost back to pre-pandemic levels

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The lifting of travel restrictions helped Hostelworld’s bookings recover almost to within touching distance of pre-pandemic levels last month.

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The accommodation online booking platform said bookings reached 80 percent of pre-Covid volumes, and revenues rose slightly above June 2019 levels as holidaymakers spent more on their trips.

All its holiday destinations saw a recovery in demand, but southern Europe boomed with bookings exceeding 2019 levels, the company said.

Bookings to southern Europe exceeded 2019 levels in June (Pictured: Corfu, in Greece)

Bookings to southern Europe exceeded 2019 levels in June (Pictured: Corfu, in Greece)

Bookings to southern Europe exceeded 2019 levels in June (Pictured: Corfu, in Greece)

Americans and Canadians have returned to Europe, with trips from those countries onto the continent now above 2019 levels, according to Hostelworld.

The firm is also seeing booking momentum ‘slowly returning’ in Oceania and Asian destinations from a ‘very low’ level in January, with booking demand in June at 43 percent of 2019 levels.

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Long haul bookings overall have reached 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Hostelworld chief executive Gary Morrison said that, despite the recent travel disruption, the travel market was returning.

‘I am encouraged by the positive indicators we report today across all of our key market segments which demonstrate the ability of our business model to capture pent-up customer demand as the travel market returns,’ he said.

‘Despite macro-economic uncertainties and recent disruption to airline schedules, I am very confident that we are well positioned to continue to capitalize on the travel recovery as we enter our key seasonal summer trading period.’

Hostelword shares rose 2 percent to 93.90p in afternoon trading on Tuesday.

Heathrow imposes a 100,000 daily passenger cap until September 11

Heathrow airport imposed a capacity cap of 100,000 departing passengers per day until September 11 in a bid to reduce disruption for holidaymakers.

The airport said that despite having employed more staff, it remains understaffed in some ‘critical’ areas, in particular ground handlers, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and aircraft turnaround.

The cap comes just a day after Heathrow warned there could be more cancellations this summer if it thought airlines did not adjust their schedules enough to reduce disruption for passengers.

Last month, the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority ordered airlines to make sure their timetables were ‘deliverable’ after the sector was unable to cope with demand, and gave them amnesty to cancel flights without being penalized.

The airport said today that while some airlines had taken action, others had not, and that further cuts were needed to make sure passengers have a ‘safe and reliable journey’.

Explaining his decision, he said: ‘Our assessment is that the maximum number of daily departing passengers that airlines, airline ground handlers and the airport can collectively serve over the summer is no more than 100,000.

The latest forecasts indicate that even despite the amnesty, daily departing seats over the summer will average 104,000 – giving a daily excess of 4,000 seats.

‘On average only about 1,500 of these 4,000 daily seats have currently been sold to passengers, and so we are asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers.’

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