Summer holiday bookings spiked by as much as 600 per cent after the prime minister signalled that international travel could resume from mid-May.
With a measure of certainty about the timetable, sun-starved British travellers rushed to book breaks for this summer.
Britain’s biggest holiday company, Tui, said on Tuesday that summer bookings had surged by 500 per cent overnight, with demand for destinations in Greece, Spain and Turkey seeing the biggest bounce.
The UK’s biggest airline, easyJet, reported that flight bookings had spiked by more than 300 per cent, while holiday bookings were up by more than 600 per cent week-on-week. Spain, Portugal and Greece were among the most popular destinations, with August, July and September the top months for travel.
Meanwhile, Europe’s largest airline, Ryanair, reported a “large surge in bookings” to destinations in Spain, Greece and Italy.
Andrew Flintham, Tui’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, said he recognised the “huge demand to travel”.
“The announcement from the prime minister on 22 February was positive and shows that by working with the travel industry on a risk-based framework, our customers will have the opportunity to travel abroad this summer,” he said.
“We will continue to work closely with the government so people can look forward to a well-deserved break away, after what has been a very difficult year for many.”
In line with government guidance, leisure flights will not depart before 17 May. International travel for all but the most essential reasons remains banned until that date.
The government’s Global Travel Taskforce will report on 12 April as to whether outbound summer holidays can go ahead.
The roadmap announcement gave a degree of much-needed clarity to the beleaguered travel industry, which had warned the government that the sector would face “its fourth winter” in two years if clarity was not given on a restart date.
Onerous restrictions are still in place on travellers returning to the UK.
Currently, all travellers to the UK must quarantine for 10 days, and travellers from 33 “red list” countries must pay for hotel quarantine, with a price tag of £1,750 per traveller.
Hotels and B&Bs in England will also be allowed to reopen from 17 May at the earliest.