Consumer confidence in booking for this summer increased over the weekend with a spike in sales and enquiries for green list destination Portugal.
The trade said the uplift reflected the hope other European hot spots currently listed amber would make the green list in upcoming government reviews.
The Advantage Travel Partnership said 54% of bookings in the week of May 4 through its managed service travel agent members were for 2021, compared with 40% the week before.
Leisure director Kelly Cookes said that demonstrated “increased confidence in the return of travel in the lead-up and immediately after the green list announcement on May 7.”
A quarter of members’ sales over the weekend were for Portugal, while Spain and Greece were popular for July and August.
Cookes added: “We all need some more destinations to make it the summer season the agent community and the industry so desperately need.”
The consortium said bookings for June, July and August departures were up 14% on the previous week, with Greece, the Canary Islands and mainland Spain the top sellers.
Barrhead Travel president Jacqueline Dobson said: “There are some customers still booking for amber destinations later this summer in the hope they will change to green by the time they travel, and we’ve also seen some customers changing their holiday to a green destination for the early summer months.”
Premier Travel director Paul Waters said: “There is a belief more destinations will be added before the summer starts.”
But other agents said the lack of viable destinations for May 17 departures meant little change in sales. Spear Travels chairman Peter Cookson called the green list “farcical”, adding: “Sales haven’t improved.”
Fred Olsen Travel said clients were now unwilling to pay summer balances unless destinations moved to green, leading to holidays being moved to 2022.
Operators reported spikes in bookings.
Jet2holidays’ summer bookings for Portugal jumped by more than 1,300% week on week after Friday’s green list announcement.
Chief executive Steve Heapy said Faro and Madeira had enjoyed a “huge rush in bookings for this summer”, adding: “The publication of the green list has had a very positive impact on customer confidence.”
Sales for Club Med’s Da Balaia resort in the Algarve increased by 1,500% on last year after the news, while Sunvil reported a hike in enquiries for Portual trips.