Barrhead Travel reported its biggest increase in late bookings since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, ahead of ‘significant travel changes’ which are expected to be implemented on Monday.
The travel agent, which is part of the US-based Internova Travel Group, said yesterday that confidence in travel is at its highest level since March 2020 with “good prices on last minute stays … helping to increase bookings ”.
He noted that nearly half of his bookings last week were for departures within the next three months. Changes in travel rules will result in the removal of pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the UK from countries not on the Red List, including returning holidaymakers. They also include a simplification of the “traffic light system”, which Barrhead said would have “only two categories of travel – red and rest of the world”.
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Barrhead said: “Turkey’s removal from the Red List has also spurred an increase in demand, with the country making a return to the travel agency‘s top five destinations this week. October include Tenerife, Alicante and Mallorca.
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He reported an increase in bookings for US vacations as “confirmation that fully vaccinated UK citizens could return to travel from November”.
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said a “flurry of positive travel news over the past few weeks has encouraged clients to confirm their long-awaited plans.”
She added, “We are finally seeing the changes we need to make travel more accessible, more affordable and easier to understand. In turn, our customers have responded by snagging last minute getaway deals and finally enjoying the sun and downtime.
“As mid-term approaches, most of our last minute bookings are from families – many of whom haven’t been able to enjoy a family vacation abroad since 2019. The prices are great and value for money. -proposed price is very attractive, especially for all-inclusive packages or cruise vacations ”.
Ms Dobson underscored her view that the “simplified approach to travel rules” had made a difference in customer confidence.
She said: “Since the trips reopened at the start of the summer, the main concerns from a customer perspective were the complex rules and cost of testing. We’ve come a long way since then and it’s really nice to see a more practical approach taken to travel advice that finally makes impending travel more accessible. ”