Flight prices and holiday bookings have soared as the government prepares to unveil the list of countries to which British holidaymakers can travel without having to self-quarantine on their return.
Travel experts said the limited number of flights available and the prospect of overseas travel to greenlisted destinations without having to quarantine were driving prices up.
Airlines have significantly reduced the number of flights they operate due to Covid-related travel restrictions, but plan to increase them later this month.
The cost of flights has skyrocketed from May 17, when international travel is to resume according to the government’s roadmap out of the lockout. For example, a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Faro on the Algarve on May 17 costs £ 448, down from £ 237 two days earlier. A Ryanair flight from London Stansted to Porto is currently priced at £ 232.99 on May 17, while anyone traveling the day before would pay just £ 14.99.
Tour operator Thomas Cook had its best day of sales on Friday since its relaunch last September, with bookings doubling from the previous day and up to four times higher than a fortnight ago.
The travel company is seeing more bookings than usual in Portugal and Malta, which are expected to be on the UK’s green list for trips without quarantine. Other countries on this low-risk Covid list will likely include Gibraltar, Iceland, and Israel.
Thomas Cook said Greece, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are also popular summer destinations this year, although they are expected to be on the UK’s orange list initially, which will require a 10-day quarantine on return and two PCRs. tests. Along with France and most other vacation hotspots, Spain and Greece are set to be given the green light to travel without quarantine at the end of June, before the school holidays start in July.
Thomas Cook spokesman David Child said the rush to book would continue over the weekend because “anyone who hasn’t booked a national summer vacation yet will get their credit card and will reserve. [The announcement] it’s giving people the confidence to book a vacation. “
He said that in many cases, several families or couples were buying breaks together and many of them were swooping down on packages with four to five-star hotels, which account for 80% of bookings.
As flight prices rise, hotels are cheaper than usual because there are so many unfilled rooms, Child said. Thomas Cook and Tui said their packages were in line with last year’s prices.
Emma Coulthurst, of holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket, said there were package holiday deals available for less than £ 300 per person, for example a week at a three-star hotel in the Algarve in August for a family of four from £ 253 per person. . “It’s been 14 months of many repayments and credit scores and the industry wants and needs to get people to go on vacation. Package vacation providers must sell vacations. “
Real estate agent Knight Frank reported that viewing of Portuguese properties on his website rose 18% in April compared to March, as buyers braced for the relaxation of travel rules.