In many ways, 2022 marks the end of an era for the UK touring industry, but it also heralds a new dawn.
Strange Days Indeed
Well, what a curious year it’s been for us here at Your London Tours. And, likely as not, our experience was reflected across the rest of the UK tour industry. But we believe the past 12 months are a positive indicator of the year ahead. Let’s look at the past portents and the shape of things to come.
We started off in January still lagging from the effects of the Covid pandemic. And February wasn’t much better, either. All doom and gloom.
Towards the end of March there were signs of a recovery. Were we finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Alas, April saw those promising rays snuffed out again. It appeared our early confidence was misplaced. More doom and gloom.
Then suddenly, and unexpectedly, the clouds parted. We went onto enjoy our busiest May in terms of bookings since Your London Tours was established almost 18 years ago.
June was also very busy, not least as the UK joyously celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Another major boost this month came when the US government lifted pre-departure testing requirements for returning air travellers.
Demand for July, August and September continued to exceed supply. Unfortunately, this meant we had to disappoint many customers who would have liked to book with us. Despite this, we continued with our policy never to send customers away completely empty-handed by recommending other professional operators to help with their needs.
For all those good vibes, October bought us back down to earth with a bump. It was rather a sombre month. First, we said goodbye to the monarch who had reigned over us for over 70 years. The mourning period and funeral arrangements fostered anxious security concerns. Thus, much of the UK tour industry went into another mini-lockdown. Many bookings had to be cancelled as a result. Also, the nasty war in Ukraine continued to spread uncertainty for travellers.
In addition, there was the inevitable knock on the door from the great pandemic reaper, this time demanding payment of the financial debt. As a result, the UK political situation descended into turmoil (and at some points downright farce). However, as the Pound and Euro crashed to its worst rate in decades against the Dollar, there was a silver lining. It meant US visitors could take advantage of value-for-money travel bookings to the UK and Europe.
Good Times Ahead
Winter is coming, and it may be tough. But we at Your London Tours believe 2023 looks very promising indeed. The overall recovery from the angst of the last couple of years will surely continue to breed even more confidence in international travel. The UK visitor attraction sector is benefiting from a much-needed ‘wash and brush up’. Seasonal service staff are also beginning to return after the pandemic, helping the industry to fully awaken from its slumbers. And in terms of upcoming events, we have much to look forward to, including, of course, the coronation of the new king in May, the first such event to happen in 70 years.
Your London Tours chief administrator Jo Bull said: “2022 was a boom year overall, and certainly exceeded our initial expectations. But we are even more optimistic about 2023. We encourage all perspective visitors to think positively, and take the opportunity to make Your London Tours the first port of call for a trip to remember.”