Car rental market seeing uplift in demand as holidaymakers choose to drive abroad

The car rental market is seeing a post-pandemic resurgence as holidaymakers ditch flying in favour of driving to their holiday destinations.

Vehicle rental trade body the BVRLA has reported an uptick in demand from leisure and tourism customers, after seeing rentals drop ‘off a cliff’ at the outbreak of the pandemic.

The body says that evidence suggests holidaymakers are preferring to rent vehicles to take abroad instead of risking travelling with others on a plane. During July, demand for the VE103B certificate that allows drivers to take rented or leased vehicles abroad surged, while the number of people visiting the Taking a Vehicle Abroad page of its website increased by 79 per cent.

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “The easing of lockdown restrictions and summer sun has brought a welcome boost to the vehicle rental sector as an increasing number of holidaymakers look to hire cars, motorhomes and campervans to travel to their UK and European holiday destinations.

“During the Covid pandemic, the vehicle rental sector has been helping to keep Britain moving, providing cars and vans to key workers and businesses needing additional vehicles to make essential deliveries. We are now pleased to see some green shoots from the sector’s leisure customers, who represent about 43 per cent of those hiring cars in the UK each year.

Earlier this week, RAC Europe said its research suggested five million motorists were set to drive on the Continent this summer, with an estimated 1.5 million of those driving abroad for the first time.

Rod Dennis, spokesman for the breakdown rescue provider, said flying “appears to be seen as a less attractive option this year” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This seems to have sparked a desire in people to drive to mainland Europe under their own steam, with many planning to do so for the first time.”