Demand for overseas vacations is recovering to pre-pandemic levels following the relaxation of coronavirus travel rules, travel agencies say.
Steve Heapy, general manager of tour operator Jet2holidays and leisure airline Jet2.com, said bookings skyrocketed after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that testing and quarantine requirements for arrivals would be relaxed.
His company has reported enormous popularity for travel to mainland Spain, the Canaries, the Balearic Islands, Turkey and Greece.
As of 4 a.m. on Friday, fully vaccinated travelers and those under 18 arriving in the UK no longer need to have passed a lateral flow test before departure.
They will be able to take a lateral flow test rather than the more expensive PCR version for their post-arrival test starting at 4 a.m. on Sunday.
The changes will save a family of four around £ 300.
Mr Heapy said: “The easing of travel restrictions is good news for the travel industry and vacationers and comes during a traditionally very busy time for vacation bookings.
“We have seen an immediate and dramatic increase in bookings, with volumes since the government announcement heading to pre-pandemic levels, showing just how much demand exists among those looking to get away from it all for a good vacation. deserved. “
A spokeswoman for tour operator Tui said Mr Johnson’s announcement “gave Britons confidence that travel will again be easier and more affordable”.
She continued, “We have already seen an immediate and strong increase in bookings and now we expect summer 2022 bookings to be normalized.
“January has traditionally been the busiest month for holiday bookings and demand has yet to reach pre-Covid levels, so we need to see continued confidence in travel so the industry can fully recover. “
The company’s biggest booking spikes were in Mexico and the Canaries.
Derek Jones, chief executive of luxury travel firm Kuoni, said the relaxation of testing rules “should be the start of the end of Covid as a blocker of international travel.”
Mr Jones continued, “I predict that travel will return to 90% to 2019 levels by the end of spring.
“We are already seeing an increase in call volumes and travel inquiries for the coming year as confidence builds. “
A survey of 2,000 UK consumers by travel agency organization Abta indicated that Spain is the most popular overseas destination that people plan to visit in 2022, followed by the United States, from France, Italy and Greece.