Demand for this summer has flattened and consumer confidence fallen further following Portugal’s removal from the green list, the trade reports.
Agents said last week’s government decision to switch Portugal to amber has hit existing summer bookings and new sales.
Idle Travel director Tony Mann told a Travel Weekly webcast: “It’s gone flat; the mood has changed.”
Fred Olsen Travel and Polka Dot Travel reported an immediate “drop‑off” in sales.
“Even if countries are added to the green list, the fear of them being withdrawn again at short notice will deter customers from booking for August and beyond at the moment,” said Paul Hardwick, head of commercial at Fred Olsen Travel.
Jet2holidays pushed its restart back from June 24 to July 1 following the news, with chief executive Steve Heapy warning consumer confidence in international travel had taken a “massive hit”. He said: “People just aren’t going to want to book.”
Agents reported most consumers were opting to amend bookings to 2022, rather than wait to see if advice changes. Miles Morgan Travel chairman Miles Morgan warned amending “doesn’t solve the underlying problem of no cash”.
The situation has fuelled further fears about the key summer period.
Advantage Travel Partnership leisure director Kelly Cookes admitted there was now “a lot of concern”, adding: “It has driven a lot more questions and amendments.”
Spear Travels chairman Peter Cookson said summer 2021 was now “well and truly killed-off”, adding: “Why would anyone book to a green country, let alone an amber country?”
Mark Duguid, managing director of tour operator Carrier, said he had put marketing activity on hold until he sees a “sustained period of stability and countries going in the right direction”.
Morgan said the summer hinges on the easing of domestic restrictions, currently planned for June 21.