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WTM London 2021: City breaks to shine next summer

WTM London 2021: City breaks to shine next summer

Almost a third of Brits who are planning an overseas holiday in 2022 want to book a city break.

That is according to research released today by WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry.

The WTM Industry Report, a poll of 1,000 consumers, found that 648 were planning to take an overseas holiday in 2022 – and cities were the second most popular choice, after the most favoured option of the beach.

The finding that 30 per cent want to take a city break next year will come as a boost to hoteliers and airlines across Europe, who have been badly hit by the drastic downturn in business travel and events amid the pandemic.

The Business Travel Association estimates that, in a normal year, £220 billion is added to UK GDP, thanks to business travel trips originating in the UK.


The association said there were nearly nine million business trips originating from the UK in 2019, resulting in about 50 million overnight stays – with more than half being for less than three nights.

Also, business travellers account for 15-20 per cent of airline customers and, on certain routes, they are twice as profitable as leisure travellers.

However, travel management companies have seen a collapse in revenue during the pandemic of up to 90 per cent.

According to Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, city destinations have been especially adversely affected by the pandemic, in part because of the downturn in business travel and events.

Furthermore, the forecasters say business travel’s recovery will lag behind the leisure bounce-back.

Traditional beach holidays will remain in demand – as findings from the WTM London report show – but city breaks offer a chance for hotel chains to tap into the post-pandemic demand from consumers to indulge in more luxurious escapes and spend their savings on a second or third holiday during 2022.

And the trend could prove to be a longer-term shift too, as Bloomberg research suggests that most large companies plan to spend less on travel post-pandemic – online communication tools, cost savings and sustainability targets all mean that hotels and airlines may have to rely on fewer corporate travellers in the future than they did before Covid-19.