Holiday bookings soar as British tourists hope for travel restart in May
Holiday bookings abroad surged by as much as 600% yesterday after the UK Government laid out roadmap plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.
EasyJet said flight bookings from the UK jumped over 300% and holiday bookings surged by more than 600% week on week after the government indicated yesterday (Monday) that travel could restart from May 17th, while holiday company TUI UK said that its holiday bookings surged by 500%.
This summer is to be make-or-break for many airlines and holiday companies which are struggling to survive with close to a year of almost no revenue due to pandemic restrictions. Without it, many will need extra funds after burning through cash reserves.
UK-listed travel stocks were buoyed after new bookings flooded in last night and this morning despite ongoing uncertainty over exactly how and when international routes can reopen.
Shares in easyJet jumped 9%, TUI and Jet2 both jumped 6%, while British Airways-owner IAG traded up 6%, and Ryanair was 3% higher.
While British tourists are some of the biggest spenders in Europe, the presence of a more infectious variant of coronavirus in the UK could alarm some countries. France and Spain have both shut their borders to most UK travellers due to different variants until March 2nd in the case of Spain at the moment.
UK holidaymakers will know more on April 12th when the government will publish a travel review, stating that international travel will not be possible until at least May 17th, which should give airlines time to plan their summer schedule, a process which usually takes months.
EasyJet said trips from the UK to beach destinations such as Spain, the Canary Islands, the Balearics, Portugal and Crete, were the most popular destinations with holidaymakers keenest to travel in August, after which July and September were the next most popular months.
TUI said destinations in Greece, Spain (including the Canary Islands) and Turkey were the most booked overnight, with people opting to go from July onwards.
Other articles that may interest you...
Britain’s route back to normality is helped by rapid progress with its vaccination plan. Over 17.7 million people, or a quarter of the population, have already had a first dose of the jab. The government is also considering options for vaccine passports to enable travel.
The airlines and travel companies hope such progress will mean that from May 17th the UK will end its holiday ban and remove a 10-day quarantine requirement, which is the biggest deterrent for travellers, and some of its Covid testing rules.