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Look, look, don’t book: we don’t dare to plan a holiday yet

Tour operator Sunweb currently only has 20 percent of the bookings that it already had in January last year for the summer months. Cause? The company points to the cabinet’s corona measures.

More holidays were booked between Christmas and January 12 than in the preceding period. After the press conference of Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge last week, in which it was advised against traveling, the enthusiasm for booking is much lower, according to Sunweb. The early risers who dare to do it, opt for a holiday in July.

Competition also bleak

And no smoking servers at the competition because of the many bookings. On the contrary. At Corendon, the number of bookings is 90 percent behind the number that the company already had in the first weeks of January last year.

Almost none of the bookings made is for a pre-season holiday. “Most bookings come in for the months of September and October,” the company emails on behalf of CEO Steven van der Heijden.

Travel organization TUI also sees a significant decrease. “We have seen more people on the website lately, but they are not booking yet.”

Normally, this period is good for about 70 percent of the summer turnover, says spokeswoman Petra Kok. Now that is certainly not the case. Compared to last year, there has been a decrease of 95 percent in the number of bookings in the period from December 20 to now.

Do search, not book

People would like to leave, according to trends from Google Analytics. At the beginning of January, more search was done for words such as ‘package travel’ or ‘early booking discount’, although Google does not give exact numbers.

The interest is not reflected in the number of bookings. “People are reluctant”, says Frank Oostdam, director of the umbrella trade association ANVR. All hope is pinned on the last minute season.

Where the vacation goes depends on the vaccination and the possibility of rapid testing, he explains. If that goes well, many people will still go on a flying holiday, Oostdam expects. “And otherwise it will be a car holiday to countries around us or away in our own country.”

Center Parcs is hoping for the summer

That scenario sounds like music to Center Parcs’ ears. Over the past three years, the company has invested 325 million euros in refurbishing the parks and will pump another similar amount into the renewal process in the coming years.

In the summer of last year, the company’s parks were ‘chock-full and chock-full,’ says Martijn Tabak, spokesperson for Center Parcs. Due to all travel restrictions, the number of holidays in your own country rose sharply, also appears from Statistics Netherlands figures.

Things are nowhere near as smooth as last year, but the company is still hopeful. It is mainly dependent on a relaxation of the corona rules.

“All restaurants are closed, swimming pools are closed. You can’t even bowl with your family. And people come to Center Parcs for that,” says Tabak.

Hesitation makes sense

Is that fear of booking justified? They understand the hesitation at the Consumers’ Association. “It is now really looking into a crystal ball, we cannot predict the future”, says spokesman Babs van der Staak, who does not want to give advice whether or not you should book.

She does warn: “If you do book, check the conditions carefully to see if you can cancel.” The fine print is really important, she emphasizes, because ‘you are not always entitled to your money back’.

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