Travel restrictions

‘Big rise’ in summer vacation bookings as covid travel restrictions ease

HOLIDAY business is set to pick up again, with the industry seeing a “sharp increase” in bookings since Covid testing rules were eased.

Fully vaccinated passengers now no longer need a pre-departure Covid test before traveling to the UK – instead, take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) or PCR within 48 hours of arrival and then follow regular isolation rules if you test positive.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers must complete a Passenger Locator Form before re-entering the country, although those not yet fully vaccinated (two doses) must still take an LFT or PCR test within 48 hours before departure. ‘arrival.

The government said the changes are possible because the Omicron variant is now “widespread and global”.

Don Bircham, managing director of Hays Travel North West, said the announcement had “opened the floodgates” to meet pent-up demand for summer holidays in the sun.

With people fully immunized and desperate to travel now able to book holidays with more confidence, Mr Bircham added that it was the “best news that [travel] industry had for a long time”.

After months of on-and-off holiday uncertainty, the surge in sales was also seen by other tour operators such as Easy Jet and Jet2 – who said demand had returned “to around pre-Covid levels “.

Don Bircham, Director of Hays Travel North West

Mr Bircham said: ‘The first part of January was very slow but there was a massive surge in bookings after the UK Government announced that travel restrictions were being eased.

“Normally it’s our busiest time because of the January blues after Christmas, so the next solution is to book that summer holiday and have something to look forward to.

“With the announcement of the relaxation of testing rules, we are really optimistic that better times are ahead. It has given people a lot more confidence to start booking their holidays. [and] there’s a huge pent-up demand from people who are fed up to the teeth and desperately need a break somewhere warm.”

With Greece, Turkey, Spain and the Canary Islands among the most popular destinations so far – along with more exotic destinations on the ‘bucket list’ also ticking off – Mr Bircham encouraged residents keen to switch holidays in the sun to book with confidence.