Holiday Bookings Soar as Britons Hope for Travel Restart
Photo: The Financial Times
(Reuters) - Britons rushed to book foreign holidays after the government laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.
Bookings flooded in on Monday evening and Tuesday following the government’s announcement on Monday that travel could restart from mid-May, with Spain and Greece the most popular destinations, airlines and holiday companies said.
EasyJet said that bookings on its flights from Britain for this summer had jumped by more than 300% compared to a week ago and bookings for its summer holiday packages had increased by more than 600% compared to a week earlier.
Holiday company TUI UK said that its bookings had surged 500% compared to a week ago, while holiday and airline group Jet2 said its bookings had increased by more than 600%.
The companies did not give precise numbers of bookings, and industry sources said the increases were likely to be from very low levels last week. Uncertainty over trips had stopped demand in what is usually a key winter booking period with cash flowing in.
This summer is 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.
There is still uncertainty over exactly how and when international routes can reopen, but the surge in bookings nevertheless helped travel stocks.
Airlines and travel companies hope travel to Europe will open up and that progress on Britain’s vaccination programme will mean that from May 17 the UK will end its holiday ban and remove a 10-day quarantine requirement, a big deterrent for holidaymakers, and some of its COVID-19 testing rules.