ECONOMY

Greece among Britons’ top picks as holiday rush begins

greece-among-britons-top-picks-as-holiday-rush-begins

International holiday bookings surged by as much as 600% after Britain laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.

EasyJet said flight bookings from Britain jumped over 300% and holiday bookings surged by more than 600% week on week after the government indicated on Monday that travel could restart from mid-May, while holiday company Tui UK said that its holiday bookings surged 500%.

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. UK-listed travel stocks were buoyed after new bookings flooded in on Monday evening and yesterday despite ongoing uncertainty over exactly how and when international routes can reopen.

EasyJet said trips from the UK to beach destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and Palma in Spain, Faro in Portugal and Crete in Greece, were the most popular destinations with holidaymakers keenest to travel in August. July and September were the next most popular months. Tui said destinations in Greece, Spain and Turkey were the most booked overnight, with people opting to go from July onwards.

Britain’s route back to normality is helped by rapid progress with its vaccine plan. Over 17.7 million people, or a quarter of the population, have already had a first dose of the jab. The UK government is also considering options for vaccine passports. The airlines and travel companies hope such progress 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. [Reuters]