Published on Monday, June 29, 2020

Travel companies report 'busiest weekend since lockdown'

Travel companies saw a surge in enquiries over the weekend, following the Government's announcement it is to replace the travel quarantine rules with a traffic light system for overseas destinations.

TravelSupermarket said this was the 'busiest weekend since lockdown', while Eurotunnel said more customers used its online booking system this weekend than 'ever before'.

TUI has reported a 50% increase in bookings this week, with Spain and Greece looking the most popular this summer.

Westoe Travel owner Graeme Brett said: "Enquiries are up but everyone is waiting to see which countries have the green light. I have seen reports that bookings are up but that must be for direct bookings.

"We have told our customers that the advice is changing constantly and by booking with an independent travel agent who is a member of ABTA, they will get the latest travel advice as well as being informed of any changes in the advice after they have booked.

"If they book online they will not get that information."

Homeworker Martin Sandland-Owens, who runs Martin's Holiday Village, said: "This weekend has been one of the busiest I've had since peaks, with bookings for August and September to Ibiza and Spain, and a number of booking for 2021.

"The interest is certainly peaking but some people are waiting for announcements on destinations open and quarantine being lifted.

"I feel once people see pictures of flights and accommodation and what a holiday now looks like, the demand will hopefully increase further.

"I have been advising that holidays are subject to confirmation of air bridges, that they may be subject to change, due to consolidation of flights and accommodation and that there is a risk of cancellation. I am only using operators that are supporting clients with options for change or refunds and are completing these in a timely manner.

"We have discussed the traffic light system and what it could look like, but all this is subject to confirmation from the Government this week."

Price comparison site TravelSupermarket commentator Emma Coulthurst said: "This weekend has been the busiest for TravelSupermarket since lockdown.

"With the confirmation this weekend of the quashing of the blanket ban for UK 14 day quarantine being replaced by a traffic light system to enable us to return and not have to quarantine for some popular European destinations, we've seen 100% more price comparison searches for holidays and 50% more click outs and bookings this weekend compared with last.

"These are the first real green shoots of recovery and the bookings offer glimmers of holiday hope for the outbound travel industry.

"However, these shoots are obviously coming much later than they normally would for summer outbound travel. The hope is that these bookings will enable the industry to salvage something of the summer and start reinvigorating.

"It was later in the year and next year when people were searching for holidays most of lockdown. But people are now searching most for overseas package holidays for this summer. Bookings are creeping up."

Eurotunnel has urged people wanting to travel this summer to 'book sooner rather than later' after reporting a rise in sales.

John Keefe, director of public affairs at Eurotunnel said: "The recent Government announcement is great news for holidaymakers, bookings have surged since Friday; in fact we have had more customers accessing our online booking system this weekend than ever before. 

"We urge anyone who is planning to travel this summer to book sooner rather than later."

Geoffrey Kent, founder of Abercrombie & Kent, said: "We're anticipating a spike in demand when air bridges are implemented, for our European villas and other holidays closer to home on the continent. This is exactly what the travel industry needs and of course, will help the mood of the nation."



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