Peak in vacation bookings as COVID-19 pre-departure tests removed | Economic news


Holiday bookings have rebounded sharply after the lifting of travel restrictions triggered pent-up demand for breaks, the boss of travel operator Jet2 said.

Managing Director Steve Heapy told Sky News bookings increased 150% earlier this week as the government removed pre-departure testing for passengers arriving in Britain and relaxed requirements for post-flight testing. ‘arrival.

His comments represent the last proof that the travel industry saw an immediate rebound thanks to the changes.

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The government on relaxing travel tests

Easyjet said Thursday it has seen UK bookings increase by nearly 200%, with demand to some destinations increasing by 400%.

Pre-departure testing has been removed from 4 a.m. on Friday while from 4 a.m. on Sunday, those tested on arrival will be able to take a lateral flow test rather than the more expensive PCR test. .

The changes are expected to save a family of four around £ 300.

Mr Heapy said there had been an “immediate and dramatic spike in bookings” with volumes climbing to pre-pandemic levels and destinations such as mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands, the Canaries, Turkey and the United States. Greece proving popular.

He told Sky News that the rule changes “make it a lot easier and a lot more convenient for people to go on vacation and also a lot cheaper.”

Mr Heapy added: “There is no risk that people will find themselves stranded abroad in a hotel and they do not have to bear the cost of the test they have taken, so it is a excellent news.

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Easyjet has also seen bookings increase

“From a minute after the announcement a few days ago, we saw bookings go up and that day they went up 150%.

“We saw a further increase yesterday.

“It confirms what we’ve been saying for a long time, that people just want to get away from it all and spend their vacations.

“A lot of people haven’t taken a vacation for two or three years, so that pent-up demand is definitely there.”

Tour operator Tui – who recognized last month this company had been affected by the announcement of new restrictions – said after the announcement it had seen an “immediate and sharp increase” and now expects summer bookings to be “normalized”.

Its biggest peaks were for Mexico and the Canaries.

Derek Jones, chief executive of luxury travel company Kuoni, said the relaxation of testing rules “should be the start of the end of COVID as a blocker of international travel.”

He predicted that travel would return to 90% to 2019 levels by the end of spring and said the form “is already seeing an increase in call volumes and travel inquiries for the coming year. as confidence grows “.

British Airways said Thursday that its vacation arm saw an almost 40% increase in web searches the week before, with New York, Dubai and Barbados being the most searched destinations.

The actions of travel agencies have rallied this week as it became clear that the restrictions would be relaxed – after a dark few weeks in which Omicron’s impact cast a veil on the industry as it struggles to recover from the restrictions of the past two years.

Ryanair was among those affected, disclosure just before Christmas that he had experienced a “sudden drop” in bookings.

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