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Summer travel bookings surge by 600% as sun-starved Britons plan holidays

The Independent logo The Independent 4 days ago Cathy Adams

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)

Summer holiday bookings spiked by as much as 600 per cent as the prime minister signalled international travel could resume from mid-May.

Laying out his roadmap out of lockdown, Boris Johnson said that staycations in England could resume from 12 April at the earliest, while overseas travel could restart from 17 May.

With some certainty, sun-starved British travellers rushed to book breaks for this summer.

Britain’s biggest holiday company, Tui, said summer bookings had surged 500 per cent, with demand for destinations in Greece, Spain and Turkey seeing the biggest bounce.

CONGLETON, England - JANUARY 26:  A man walks past a TUI travel center outside one of its stores on January 26, 2021 in Congleton, England . (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) © 2021 Nathan Stirk CONGLETON, England - JANUARY 26: A man walks past a TUI travel center outside one of its stores on January 26, 2021 in Congleton, England . (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

The UK’s biggest airline, easyJet, reported flight bookings had spiked more than 300 per cent, while holiday bookings were up more than 600 per cent week-on-week. Destinations such as Spain, Portugal and Greece were the most popular, with August, July and September top travel months.

Meanwhile, Europe’s largest airline, Ryanair, reported a “large surge in bookings” to destinations in Spain, Greece and Italy.

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Tui managing director, UK and Ireland, Andrew Flintham, said he recognised the “huge demand to travel”.

He added: “The announcement from the prime minister on 22 February was positive and shows that by working with the travel industry on a risk-based framework our customers will have the opportunity to travel abroad this summer.

Nurse Maggie Clark administers a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to a patient at a vaccination centre set up at the Fiveways Islamic Centre and Mosque in Nottingham, central England, on February 22, 2021. - Coronavirus vaccines do not contain pork or make you infertile: a celebrity advertising pitch is striving to counter a worrying lag among certain ethnic minorities affecting Britain's otherwise impressive inoculation campaign. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) Nurse Maggie Clark administers a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to a patient at a vaccination centre set up at the Fiveways Islamic Centre and Mosque in Nottingham, central England, on February 22, 2021. - Coronavirus vaccines do not contain pork or make you infertile: a celebrity advertising pitch is striving to counter a worrying lag among certain ethnic minorities affecting Britain's otherwise impressive inoculation campaign. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

“We will continue to work closely with the government so people can look forward to a well-deserved break away, after what has been a very difficult year for many.”

In line with government guidance, leisure flights will not depart before 17 May. International travel for all but the slimmest essential reasons remains banned until that date.

The new Global Travel Task Force will report on 12 April as to whether outbound summer holidays can go ahead.

The roadmap announcement gave a degree of much-needed clarity to the beleaguered travel industry, which warned the government it would face “its fourth winter” in two years if clarity was not given on a restart date.

Although a date has been given for the restart of the international travel industry, there are still onerous restrictions on returning travellers to the UK.

Currently, all travellers to the UK must quarantine for 10 days, and travellers from 33 “red list” countries must pay for hotel quarantine, with a price tag of £1,750 per traveller.

Hotels and B&Bs in England will also be allowed to reopen from 17 May.

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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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