Holiday demand takes off ahead of air bridges announcement

Demand for foreign holidays has doubled in the past week ahead of air bridges being confirmed with selected European countries.

Price comparison website TravelSupermarket reported online searches for Majorca rising 96% week-on-week, with Gran Canaria seeing a 51% surge, Tenerife 28% and Benidorm 46%.

Overall demand for holidays to Spain is up by 42% overall against the first two week in June.

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Interest in trips to Portugal has risen by 35% and Greece by 31%.

TravelSupermarket travel commentator Emma Coulthurst said: “It is very much the Med destinations that have been opening up and confirming that they will not impose a quarantine for Brits which are seeing the surges in interest.

“If you look at the average price of a seven-night package holiday from the UK this summer, Majorca, The Algarve, the Costa del Sol and Majorca, the Costa Dorada, Malta and Ibiza are offering some of the best prices.”

The surge comes prior to the government announcing the reopening of international travel to a list of countries on Monday, June 29.

Among those expected to be included are Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

The announcement is due to coincide with a three-week review of 14-day quarantine rules on international arrivals to the UK imposed on June 8 in the face of mass travel, aviation and hospitality industry opposition.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps told MPs yesterday that travel corridors would form “part of a solution” to quarantine restrictions.

A phased process will likely see selected European countries available from July 4, with mid-haul destinations added in August and some long-haul countries from September.

Paul Charles, spokesman for the Quash Quarantine industry lobby, said: “When Downing Street announces ‘travel corridors’ on Monday, expect short-haul destinations to dominate – France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Holland, Greece, Gibraltar. Long-haul is way off, possibly September, and the USA/Latin America more like November.”

It will follow prime minister Boris Johnson’s confirmation on Tuesday that domestic holidays will be allowed from July 4, triggering a rush in bookings for breaks in England.

A new industry standard is being introduced by VisitEngland alongside the national tourism bodies of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales for hotels, accommodation providers and visitor attractions to reassure the public that businesses are adhering to government guidance.

This will act as a marker to visitors that a venue is practising social distancing, maintaining cleaning routines and has undertaken a thorough risk assessment to protect customers when on site.

The UK-wide ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and consumer mark aims to provide confidence for visitors, communities and tourism businesses alike, as the sector works towards reopening.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Britain needs a break, and from July 4 people can now take a well deserved staycation.

“We’ll need the public to keep safe on holiday by following the advice we’re providing, but there is no doubt this is the news many have been waiting for. I am looking forward to a British holiday myself.

“Our guidance will help the tourism businesses reopen safely, reassure locals and allow businesses to welcome guests back with confidence.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “I want to encourage the public to experience a great British holiday this summer and be confident that they can do so safely.

“This new industry standard will show people that tourism businesses, destinations and attractions are adhering to the guidance. It puts safety first and is an important move in getting this industry back up and running.”

VisitEngland director Patricia Yates added: “Millions of jobs and local economies across England are reliant on tourism so it is fantastic news that the industry can plan with confidence to  reopen and to welcome visitors back safely working within the new guidelines.

“Guidance is also being published for conferences and events which builds upon the guidance for the tourism sector and businesses.”

MoreManchester airport: ‘Air bridges would give passengers confidence that it’s safe to fly’

Agreement on air bridges expected by end of June

Boris Johnson ‘deeply engaged’ in creating air bridges


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