Covid-19: Thousands head overseas on holiday as rules ease

(BBC) – Thousands of British holidaymakers have begun taking advantage of the easing of lockdown rules on overseas travel.

Travellers from England, Scotland and Wales are jetting off to some countries in what the crisis-hit tourism industry hopes is the start of a recovery.
Travellers can now visit 12 countries on the government’s green list, including Portugal and Israel, without isolating on their return.
The bosses of British Airways and Ryanair said confidence was returning.
The vast majority of tourist destinations remain on the amber and red lists, meaning travellers must quarantine when they get back.
Bookings also remain well down on pre-pandemic levels.
‘Small step’
However, BA chief executive Sean Doyle told the BBC that the airline’s six flights due to depart from Heathrow on Monday to “green” destinations such as Lisbon, Faro and Madeira were “very busy”.

He said the latest relaxation of restrictions was “a small step in the right direction”.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said there were definite signs of an early rebound in travel to European destinations.

Bookings are up from 500,000 a week in early April to 1.5 million a week now. “The rate of bookings suggests there is a huge amount of confidence,” he told BBC Breakfast. “We are very optimistic for the next couple of months.”

Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said welcoming holidaymakers for the first time in months was a “big relief”.
He expected the number of travellers to increase significantly by the end of May – but this will still be less than 15% of the traffic seen in pre-pandemic times.

“It’s an important day for us… we’re looking forward to seeing more countries added to the green list in the weeks ahead,” he added.

But there is still caution. Online travel agent Thomas Cook said the number of people booking to travel abroad was “still small”.
It said 75% of its bookings were for Portugal, although Thomas Cook customers planning to jet off this week numbered only in their hundreds.

Article By News784

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