Breaking the data down, the most important outbound markets are ahead, and the two largest, the USA and Germany, are both more than 8% ahead of where they were at the same time last year. The UK is 0.1% ahead, France is 5.4% ahead, Australia is 6.3% ahead and Canada is 2.6% ahead.
There is also very substantial growth in outbound bookings from the BRICs, with Brazil 40.6% ahead, Russia 31.3% ahead, India 10.7% ahead and China 7.7% ahead. Taking a regional perspective, the highlights are South America, which is ahead 20.0% and Eastern Europe, ahead 18.2%. They are followed by North America and South-East Asia, ahead by 7.6% and 6.3% respectively.
Turning to destinations, the most noticeable numbers belong to the world’s favourite long-haul destinations, the USA and the UK. The USA stands out because it is the only major country where bookings for the summer are behind where they were last year, 3.5% behind.
By contrast, the UK, assisted by a collapse in the value of Sterling following the vote to leave the EU, is ahead 18.0%. All the other major destinations are experiencing strong booking interest. Summer bookings for Italy are 6.8% ahead, for Spain 13.0% ahead, for France 7.3% ahead and for Thailand 3.2% ahead.
Looking at major destinations, which comprise 1.5% or more of the worldwide market, the hottest of all are Greece 21.8% ahead, Indonesia 17.4% ahead, Russia 16.7% ahead and Portugal 14.8% ahead.
“Except for inbound travel to the USA, we are currently looking at a good year for travel, with more people than ever being willing to fly long-haul for their summer holidays,” says Olivier Jager, chief executive officer, ForwardKeys.
While one needs to take some of the bigger percentage uplifts with a pinch of salt because in the case of markets such as Russia and Brazil, what we are really seeing is a recovery following previous difficult years, bookings for future travel are significantly ahead of where they were last year for the same period.
“As a general rule, the further people fly, the more money they spend during their trip so if things continue as they are, managers of businesses that rely on tourists, such as hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions, should be wearing smiles in September,” adds Mr Jager.