Saturday 18 September 2021 11:20 am

Holidaymakers rush to make bookings after travel rules update

Holiday firms have reported a surge in demand from customers after the government announced plans to simplify international travel rules in England.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the traffic light system would be replaced with a single red list.

Bookings are expected to surge as Brits look to escape abroad during the half-term holidays later this year.

Double jabbed travellers will no longer need a pre-departure test before returning from countries that were not on the red list.

From Wednesday, a raft of countries including Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will be removed from the red list.

Alan French, CEO of online holiday company, Thomas Cook, said he thought it would be the busiest booking weekend of the year so far, following the “shot in the arm” announcement. 

Bookings for the October half-term were up more than 200 per cent compared to August, the travel boss said.

French added: “We’d also expect a flood of interest in city breaks of two and three nights as people look forward to revisiting old favourites or exploring somewhere new. 

“Our customers have been desperate to get back to Turkey this summer so they will be thrilled to finally make it out there and enjoy the warm late summer temperatures.”

From October, holidaymakers returning to England will no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival and can take a rapid test instead.

Online travel agency Skyscanner also said it had seen a massive spike in traffic with customers rushing to plan holidays right after the announcement was made on Friday evening.

Destinations including Turkey and the Maldives marked huge increases in flight searches on Skyscanner’s website, with 109 per cent and 97 per cent boosts respectively, compared to last week.

Martin Nolan, Skyscanner’s global traveller rights expert, said: “This is great news for those already planning trips and will help to bring travel back to the front of the minds of many who have been put off by the previous protocols.  

“We expect these more straightforward rules will drive a surge in demand across the board as those with vaccinations can plan their travel with fewer restrictions.”