International travel is booming and is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, industry workers say.
Jet2 chief executive of tour operator Jet2holidays and leisure airline Jet2.com, Steve Heapy, said bookings skyrocketed after restrictions in the UK eased last week, allowing UK citizens to travel more as additional testing requirements have been removed, SchengenVisaInfo. com reports.
Specifically, since Friday fully vaccinated travelers and children under 18 have been released from the requirement to present a PCR test prior to departure upon their return to the UK. Instead, they’re allowed to take a less expensive testing option, a lateral flow test, which is recognized as valid for entry since Sunday. The new rules will save a family of four up to around € 360 (£ 300).
“We have seen an immediate and dramatic increase in bookings, with volumes since the government announcement heading to pre-pandemic levels, showing just how much demand there is among those looking to get away on vacation. well deserved “, Heapy said.
Additionally, Derek Jones, chief executive of Kuoni, the luxury travel company, said the new testing rules introduced should mark the start of the end of COVID-19 as a barrier to international travel.
“I predict that travel will be reduced to 90% to 2019 levels by the end of spring. We are already seeing an increase in call volumes and travel inquiries for the coming year as confidence builds ”, Jones said for Belfast Telegraph.
In addition, a spokesperson for TUI, the tourism company, said the new measure had restored confidence in Britons to travel again and the practice could be done more easily and at less cost. In addition, she added that a rapid increase in bookings had been noted and that, following this trend, summer bookings are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels. Most of the booking spikes were noticed at coastal destinations such as Mexico and the Canaries.
A survey of 2,000 UK consumers by travel agency organization Abta found that Spain is the top overseas destination people plan to visit in 2022, followed by the United States, the United States. France, Italy and Greece.
Previously, budget airlines saw an increase in flight bookings, which also affected ticket prices up to £ 4 and £ 9 (€ 4.79 to € 10.78).
The price for PCR tests is estimated at € 96 (£ 80) per traveler, compared to € 24-36 (£ 20-30) for a lateral flow test. This means UK nationals can save up to € 240 on post-arrival testing alone and possibly an additional € 120 on pre-departure testing.