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Summer holiday bookings surge by up to 600pc after lockdown roadmap announcement

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 23/02/2021 Gareth Davies
a large air plane on a runway at an airport: Summer holiday bookings surge by up to 600pc after lockdown roadmap announcement - Jeremy Suyker/Bloomberg © Jeremy Suyker/Bloomberg Summer holiday bookings surge by up to 600pc after lockdown roadmap announcement - Jeremy Suyker/Bloomberg

Airlines and travel firms are experiencing a surge in demand following Boris Johnson's road map for how coronavirus restrictions will be eased.

The Prime Minister said on Monday that a Government taskforce will produce a report by April 12 recommending how international trips can resume for people in England.

Foreign holidays could be permitted from May 17.

But the review into international travel in the road map will be informed by evidence about vaccine effectiveness against new variants, according to the Health Secretary.

Travellers pull their suitcases as they arrive at London Stansted Airport, northeast of London on August 20, 2020 following the decision by British no-frills airline Easyjet to close its operations at the airport from August 31. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images) Travellers pull their suitcases as they arrive at London Stansted Airport, northeast of London on August 20, 2020 following the decision by British no-frills airline Easyjet to close its operations at the airport from August 31. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Matt Hancock told Sky News: "We do have to protect against these new variants, and that is a big challenge.

"One of the reviews announced yesterday is a review into international travel.

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More on coronavirus:

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Step by step: How England's lockdown will be lifted (The Guardian)

How would vaccine and testing certificates work? (Sky News)

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"And that review will be informed by the evidence that we're currently collecting on the impact of the vaccine on these, the so-called South Africa and Brazil new variants.

"If the vaccine works well against them, then we can be much more relaxed about international travel.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Passengers travelling from one of the countries on the "red list" are escorted through the arrivals area of terminal 5 of Heathrow airport and onto a waiting coach, on February 16, 2021 in London, England. From yesterday, people arriving from 33 "red list" countries, including South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, must isolate in hotels rooms for 10 days at their own expense. The policy was announced late last month in response to the emergence of new variants of the novel coronavirus that are more resistant to existing vaccines. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) © 2021 Getty Images LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Passengers travelling from one of the countries on the "red list" are escorted through the arrivals area of terminal 5 of Heathrow airport and onto a waiting coach, on February 16, 2021 in London, England. From yesterday, people arriving from 33 "red list" countries, including South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, must isolate in hotels rooms for 10 days at their own expense. The policy was announced late last month in response to the emergence of new variants of the novel coronavirus that are more resistant to existing vaccines. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

"If the vaccine doesn't work against them, then that will be much, much more difficult."

In the hours after the announcement, easyJet said bookings by UK customers for the summer season were more than four times higher compared with the same period during the previous week.

The Luton-based firm's holiday division saw an even larger rise, with demand up seven-fold.

The most popular destinations for this summer are beach resorts including Malaga, Alicante and Palma in Spain, Faro in Portugal and the Greek island of Crete.

HALKIDA, Feb. 6, 2021 -- Two women chat in Halkida, a seaside town nearly 80 kilometers northeast of Athens, Greece, on Feb. 6, 2021. Greek authorities announced on Friday that the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown which started on Nov. 7 is further extended to Feb. 15, while an earlier night curfew and closure of retail stores on weekends is imposed in red zones, like Attica and Thessaloniki in northern Greece, in order to avert the third wave of the pandemic. (Photo by Marios Lolos/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Marios Lolos via Getty Images) © Xinhua News Agency.All Rights Reserved HALKIDA, Feb. 6, 2021 -- Two women chat in Halkida, a seaside town nearly 80 kilometers northeast of Athens, Greece, on Feb. 6, 2021. Greek authorities announced on Friday that the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown which started on Nov. 7 is further extended to Feb. 15, while an earlier night curfew and closure of retail stores on weekends is imposed in red zones, like Attica and Thessaloniki in northern Greece, in order to avert the third wave of the pandemic. (Photo by Marios Lolos/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Marios Lolos via Getty Images)

August is the most booked month, followed by July and September.

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% and holidays up 630% 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."

EasyJet insists that customers can "book with confidence" as it has a flexible policy for allowing changes to itineraries.

Online travel firm Thomas Cook said traffic to its website was up 60% during the three hours after Mr Johnson's statement to the Commons.

Chief executive Alan French described the announcement as "good news for those of us desperate to get away on holiday".

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Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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