Saga Holidays has claimed a more than doubling of booking enquiries in the week since the Global Travel Taskforce published its findings on the potential resumption of overseas travel from May 17.

The over-50s specialist reported a 127% increase over the same period two weeks before.

Meanwhile, Saga lit up its two ocean ships, currently docked at London Tilbury, in tribute to Prince Philip.

Enquiries for 2021 have focused on UK and European stays, while destinations such as Egypt and Madeira plus European river cruises are proving popular for travel next year.

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The US and Canada top the list for most searches for long-haul holidays in 2022.

Cruise searches have focused on the company’s ships Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure this summer, of which all but one are now sold out.

The operator had already seen evidence that cruises are a popular option for travellers as bookings were up 20% for 2021/22 and 2022/23 combined before the government announcement.

Saga Travel chief executive Nick Stace said: “We’d already received a surge in enquiries when the vaccine roll-out started and in the week since the government’s announcement around international travel, we’ve seen another spike from travellers keen to secure holidays.

“The UK and Europe are top destinations for later this year while searches for year-round warmth mean Egypt and Madeira are proving popular for next year.

“Our customers have told us they intend to stay for longer to make up for their year at home so we’re offering many winter sun holidays with four weeks for the price of three. Our European river cruises are also experiencing high levels of demand and we’re looking forward to launching our latest ship, Spirit of the Rhine later this year.

“Further afield, the USA and Canada are proving popular for next year, but we’ve also just launched tours to exciting destinations such as Guyana and Ecuador and we’re expecting them to do very well as people come out of lockdown determined to make the most of opportunities to travel.”

The operator is asking all travellers to have both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine at least 14-days in advance of travel.

Saga Holidays will also monitor the Covid-specific requirements of each destination and is committed to communicating those details to customers ahead of departure.

Stace added: “Our customers want something really special and trust Saga to look after them – they know their wellbeing and enjoyment are our top priorities. It’s why we require our customers to have received both doses of the vaccine and that’s just one of a number of stringent measures in place to keep our guests safe.”