As most countries begin to ease their Covid restrictions, recent figures indicate that the trend of pet-friendly holidays, which surged during the pandemic, is now set to be reflected in international travel.
Around 3.2 million UK households have bought pets since the start of the pandemic according to the BBC, which equates to 17 million pet-owning homes.
And now that travel restrictions are easing around the world, experts predict that owners will be keen to take their furry friends with them on holidays further than Britain.
Already seeing the impact of this is Locaboat. The self-drive boating specialist has already taken 65% of last year's total bookings for dog-friendly boats in the first three months of this year.
This percentage, however, could actually be even higher as the company, which offers routes across France and other European countries, does not require guests to disclose that they are travelling with a pet.
According to Google Trends, searches for ‘travelling to France with a dog’ have soared by 100% in the last 12 months, reaching a peak after France announced the easing of its restrictions on the 13th January 2022.
These figures, coupled with predictions that more people will travel abroad this year compared to pre-pandemic levels, suggest that travel companies can expect to see an increased interest in pet-friendly getaways this year.
Serge Naïm, CEO of Locaboat, said: “Dog-friendly holidays have been growing in popularity in recent years and we predict that we will be welcoming more furry companions on our boat tours this year than ever before. All of our boats are dog-friendly and guests are not required to register their pets upon booking, so who knows how many wagging tails we’ll see onboard!
“At the end of the day, our boat tours offer a unique opportunity that truly allows for families to come together, bond over a shared experience and establish even stronger relationships. At Locaboat, we believe that no family member should be excluded from making these memories - regardless of whether or not they have a tail!”
Locaboat offers a fleet of over 380 self-drive boats across a range of European destinations including France, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland and Germany.
The company caters for all needs and budgets, and all of its boats are suitable for pets. For example, the Pénichettes offer large outside and inside areas as well as safe guardrails that go round the entirety of the boats, and the Pénichette Terrasse has an outside area that extends the length of the main living area so that guests can always see their four-legged friends.
France is an ideal holiday destination for dogs - and Locaboat’s route along the Canal du Midi offers lengthy towpaths for them to stretch their legs. Not to mention fantastic opportunities to experience the unspoilt landscape of the Camargue, see unique displays of flora, fauna and wildlife, and explore the medieval citadels and a UNESCO world heritage site!
Locaboat has seen high demand for its holiday options during the pandemic with self-drive boats being a good way to escape the crowds, and the company is also expecting increased demand for this type of cruising over the coming year.