Boris addresses the nation on his route out of lockdown
But families have shown how keen they are to reconnect and create memories together after months of separation with a surge in bookings, according to tourism chiefs. The stampede for a break has seen demand shoot up by 630 percent for some providers since the Road Map to freedom was unveiled on Monday afternoon.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised a review of so-called vaccine passports to try to facilitate the process.
Yesterday he tasked senior minister Michael Gove with leading a review into the “deep and complex issues” surrounding “Covid status certificates”.
Downing Street admitted there will need to be international agreements on overseas travel and Britain will raise the issue with the G7 in a bid to thrash out a framework.
The UK’s biggest holiday firm, Tui, said bookings for foreign trips jumped six-fold overnight with Greece, Spain and Turkey all in hot demand, and EasyJet said demand was up 630 percent.
People hope to get back to the beach this summer
Airline Jet2.com and its package holiday arm Jet2holidays said total bookings were seven times higher following the announcement.
Most bookings were made for August, but July and September were also popular.
Paul Charles, of the Save Our Summer campaign, told the Daily Express that the Prime Minister’s announcement has given people the confidence to book and inject cash into travel firms desperately trying to survive.
He added: “There is a huge sense of relief for most in the travel sector that April and May will see holiday cottages, then hotels and finally overseas travel open up again after months of being in a state of limbo.
“Airlines, tour operators, hotels, travel agents, cruiselines have all been on a miserable, seemingly never-ending journey since last March of furloughing staff, applying for loans, making staff redundant and cancelling bookings.
“Now there is it seems a smoother path ahead.
Greece is an indemand locale this summer
“From May 17, I’m confident the government will make overseas travel easier – with the magic of the vaccine, it will also be much safer for us all.”
Greece, Spain and Turkey are the most popular destinations for Britons dreaming of a summer getaway, while many are also booking trips to Portugal and Cyprus.
Bookings for domestic holidays are also rocketing as people look to enjoy a great British summer.
The owner of UK-based holiday firms Hoseasons and Cottages.com has revealed it has sold a record 10,000 breaks.
Hoseasons bosses revealed they were taking a couple of bookings every 10 seconds.
People from the same household can go on a staycation from April 12 at the earliest.
Two households will be able to go away together from May 17.
Thomas Cook’s chief executive Alan French said yesterday: “I thought it was fantastic news for the whole country. I think we have all wanted to go on a holiday.
“We want to spend time away with our family and friends and this gives us the opportunity to start planning and dreaming of what it is we want to do.
The route out of lockdown
“Our customers have been snapping up some great deals. We saw demand rocket. We saw the website quadruple, bookings going up by more than that, particularly from families who are looking to book later in the Summer.”
The holiday firm said bookings were “flooding in” for countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “We have consistently seen that there is pent-up demand for travel and this surge in bookings shows that this signal from the Government that it plans to reopen travel has been what UK consumers have been waiting for.
“The Prime Minister’s address has provided a much-needed boost in confidence for so many of our customers in the UK, with demand for flights up 337 percent and holidays up 630 per cent already compared to last week and beach destinations proving most popular for this summer.”
He added: “While the summer may be a little while off, we will be working around the clock to ensure we will be ready to ramp up our flights to reconnect friends and family or take them on a long-awaited holiday to remember.”
Boris Johnson said that foreign travel could resume from May 17 at the earliest after a review by the Department for Transport (DfT), due to report on April 12.
Ministers and officials will analyse the prevalence and location of mutant strains of COVID-19 as well as the progress of vaccine programmes abroad.
TUI’s managing director Andrew Flintham said the Government can work with the travel industry to develop a “risk-based framework” that will give holidaymakers “the opportunity to travel abroad this summer”.
He added that there is a “huge demand to travel” and “people can look forward to a well-deserved break away after what has been a very difficult year for many”.
But with some uncertainty about when international travel will resume, some holidaymakers have their sights set on a UK break.
Simon Altham, the group chief commercial officer at Awaze, the company behind Hoseasons, said: “Last year following similar announcements we saw bookings peak at one every 11 seconds, but this time demand has exceeded our expectations and comfortably broken that record.”
And Malcolm Bell, of Visit Cornwall, said: “We are pleased we have got the roadmap now. It has been a very tough year.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock
“We want everybody to have a choice of what they want to do. We are very much angling for the multi-generational holidays. There has been a lot of separation.
“We want people to come down, reconnect and create great memories.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the effectiveness of vaccines against coronavirus strains will play a major part in the international travel review.
“We do have to protect against these new variants, and that is a big challenge,” he told Sky News.
He added that “we can be much more relaxed about international travel” if vaccines work well against strains of the virus from South Africa and Brazil.
“If the vaccine doesn’t work against them, then that will be much, much more difficult,” he said