Tuesday 23 February 2021 10:51 am

Brits rush to book holidays in hopes of end to travel restrictions

Brits rushed to book holidays overnight after Boris Johnson yesterday raised the prospect of international travel restarting in time for the long summer break.

According to the government’s roadmap for ending lockdown, international travel could start on 17 May at the very earliest.

The announcement triggered a surge in bookings, with budget carrier Easyjet reporting a 330 per cent rise in flight bookings and a 630 per cent rise in holiday bookings.

Popular holiday destinations such as Crete, Alicante, and Malaga were much in demand, the airline said.

Package holiday provider Jet2 also reported a 600 per cent rise in bookings since yesterday afternoon, with mainland Spain, Greece, and the Mediterranean islands all among the hotspots.

The FTSE 250 firm said that there was a particularly marked uptick in bookings for July, when the school holidays end.

Steve Heapy, chief exec of Jet2 said: “We have seen enormous pent-up demand from British holidaymakers for some time, with people wanting nothing more than to get away to the sunshine and enjoy their well-deserved holidays.

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“The government’s announcement is the news they have been longing for, and the surge in bookings shows how ready our customers are to get away to the sunshine on a real package holiday.”

“We are very pleased that the government has shown a clear ambition to reopen international travel in the coming months, and we look forward to more detail in due course. 

Meanwhile Anglo-German giant Tui said that bookings for holidays from July onwards had soared 500 per cent overnight.

And newly-relaunched Thomas Cook also said that traffic on its website had doubled in the aftermath of Johnson’s announcement.

After a year of devastation caused by the pandemic, airlines were left breathing a sigh of relief after Johnson finally put a date on a possible end of all restrictions.

Having gone to great lengths to stay afloat during the last year, the coming summer is vital to airlines and travel firms if they are to start bringing in revenues again.

Markets also reacted favourably to the news, with shares in British Airways owner IAG up 3.2 per cent.

On the FTSE 250, Easyjet rose 6.9 per cent, while Tui was up 3.2 per cent in this morning’s trading.