The travel industry has welcomed a roadmap for lifting COVID-19 restrictions in the UK, with travel companies already experiencing a rise in travel bookings.
Plans were revealed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, recently along with a global travel taskforce to report on the reopening of travel on April 12th. It would then be decided by the government to remove the restrictions on international travel. This will take place in May of this year at the earliest.
Due to effects of the new movement, tour operator Tui revealed that bookings had surged by 500 per cent overnight, with the most-booked destinations being Greece, Spain and Turkey, for breaks from July onwards. easyJet also reported a 337 per cent surge in flight bookings and a 630 per cent jump in holiday bookings for locations such as Alicante, Malaga, Palmo, Faro and Crete, with bookings highest in August, followed by July and then September.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, responding to the prime minister’s statement said, “This sets an ambition to get people travelling before the summer – which will not only be crucial for travel businesses whose revenues have been wiped out, but also for the millions of people who are desperate to travel again, whether to see friends and relatives based overseas or for a much-needed holiday. We are pleased to see the government has responded to our calls to engage with industry on a specific roadmap for travel, and we welcome that the global travel taskforce will reconvene to work with ABTA and the wider travel industry on a plan for reopening travel.”
UKinbound chief executive, Joss Croft, however, explained that the process would take time, “It is very clear that we are still months away from restarting international travel, and many more months before we see a significant recovery, and the industry therefore needs continued support. In order for our sector to survive long enough to support the economic recovery, we are asking the chancellor to retain furlough as long as restrictions are in place, issue sector specific grants and extend business rate relief, when he announces the budget on March 3rd.”
Photo Credit: Lily Beach Resort