Travel industry sees spike in demand following UK roadmap

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The travel industry has broadly welcomed a roadmap for the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK, with some companies already reporting a surge in bookings.

Prime minister, Boris Johnson, unveiled the plans on Monday, with a global travel taskforce to report on the reopening of travel on April 12th.

The government would then decide on removing restrictions on international travel.

However, this would not happen until May 17th at the earliest.

In response to the move, tour operator Tui said bookings had surged by 500 per cent overnight.

Greece, Spain and Turkey had been the most-booked destinations, it said, for breaks from July onwards.

easyJet also reported a 337 per cent surge in flight bookings and a 630 per cent jump in holiday bookings for locations such as Alicante, Malaga, Palmo, Faro and Crete.

Bookings are strongest in August, followed by July and then September.

Responding to the prime minister’s statement, Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said: “This sets an ambition to get people travelling before the summer – which will not only be crucial for travel businesses whose revenues have been wiped out, but also for the millions of people who are desperate to travel again, whether to see friends and relatives based overseas or for a much-needed holiday.

“We are pleased to see the government has responded to our calls to engage with industry on a specific roadmap for travel, and we welcome that the global travel taskforce will reconvene to work with ABTA and the wider travel industry on a plan for reopening travel.”

UKinbound chief executive, Joss Croft, urged patience, however, saying the process would take time.

He explained: “It is very clear that we are still months away from restarting international travel, and many more months before we see a significant recovery, and the industry therefore needs continued support.

“In order for our sector to survive long enough to support the economic recovery, we are asking the chancellor to retain furlough as long as restrictions are in place, issue sector specific grants and extend business rate relief, when he announces the budget on the March 3rd.”

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