Airlines, resorts and operators have seen a surge in demand for breaks, particularly in the autumn, and reservations are up by 80 percent on 2019 bookings. The appetite to finally get away, no matter when, has led some to predict this year will see the longest season yet. Hays Travel said a quarter of its current bookings were for this season, with the rest for summer 2022. Three-quarters were for short-haul destinations. Susan Wear from the company said: “Things are changing daily so we are advising customers within Government guidelines to help them choose a holiday for when and where it’s safe to do so.
“Those who are booking for next year are taking advantage of some really good offers and the opportunity to spread the cost by direct debit.
“There are still excellent round-Britain cruises by some of the top operators and luxury ships which are starting up from early May and selling fast. These are really the next best thing to a holiday abroad.”
Despite the success of the Covid vaccine rollout, which could end the overseas travel ban, huge numbers of families are opting for a staycation this year.
EasyJet is launching a new route to Newquay from Gatwick airport this summer, with flights starting at £32.99. The tourist trade in Cornwall is worth £1.8billion a year and bookings at some venues are already up 50 percent. More than half of adults have received at least one vaccine dose and people in their 30s are now being urged to come for their jabs.
Concern remains about overseas travel but holidays could get the green light in three weeks.
Many destinations will require proof of a jab and a recent negative virus test. Officials are racing to get a Covid passport scheme up and running for May 17.
The passport would allow families to finally hit the beach after 13 long months and Spain remains a target for those wanting some summer sun.
The country’s state of alarm will end on May 9, eight days before the UK enters stage three on its lockdown freedom road map, and spots at resorts like Benidorm, Alicante and Andalusia are quickly being snapped up.
Spanish tourism secretary Fernando Valdes said a UK-Spain travel corridor could be a solution, adding: “If we are able to reach agreements by June, we will be able to have a summer holiday, probably not in the same manner as 2019, but a well-needed restart to international tourism.”
Skyscanner, the world’s biggest flight-booking platform, said more holidaymakers were seeking September, October and November getaways.
Club Med said October half-term bookings were up by 80 percent compared with 2019, the last restriction-free summer, with demand for Bali, Turkey and Sicily high.
Holiday firm Tui said bookings for July onwards were up 500 percent with Spain, Greece and Turkey among the most popular destinations.
Independent travel expert Paul Charles said: “I understand the Government will reveal which countries are in the new traffic light colours of red, amber and green on either May 6 or 7.
“All of Europe and countries such as Turkey will be either amber or green in the first traffic light map. Add to that green possibilities such as Israel, Barbados, Morocco, Maldives, Seychelles, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and the British Overseas Territories of Bermuda, Turks and Caicos.
“June 28 would see the US opened up, July 31 for transit hubs such as Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi and October 1 would see a plan for reopening access to Australia and New Zealand, with Qantas already announcing plans to restart international flights from this time.”
The Department for Transport said: “We are working on a solution to enable residents to prove their Covid-19 status, including vaccination status, to other countries on the outbound leg.
“We are working on this as a priority and intend to have the solution ready as soon as possible.”