Travel Bookings Surge As Cyprus And Portugal Reopen To UK Holidaymakers

Travel Bookings Surge As Cyprus And Portugal Reopen To UK Holidaymakers. image: Pixabay

Travel Bookings Surge As Cyprus And Portugal Reopen To UK Holidaymakers.

Travel agents have reported a renewed surge in interest and bookings for holidays abroad since Cyprus and Portugal announced last week that they would be open to British tourists this summer. Most recent holiday bookings are for July and August, however, with a very few in May, which is when Cyprus has said it will start to welcome back UK visitors.

“Cyprus has always been a favourite for our customers and we’ve seen a real uptick in bookings,” said a spokesperson for Tui, the package holiday company.

Thomas Cook saw a quarter more searches for Cyprus on Friday than on Thursday and people were spending 40% longer on hotel pages, suggesting they were more likely to book, according to a spokesperson. “So far, Portugal has not had as many bookings as normal. I think we will see an increase in interest this weekend.”

The Cypriot government said on Thursday night that those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can enter the country without restrictions from 1 May, while on Friday Portugal said those who tested negative or were “immune” could visit.

People are also booking summer holidays to other destinations such as Spain, Greece, Mallorca, Turkey, and France, as well as further afield to the US and Maldives.

A spokesperson for the Association of Specialist Travel Companies said that “Greece has been top of the pops” since the country’s minister for tourism, Haris Theoharis, said last month that UK visitors would be welcome. Theoharis said that the country is working on a plan to make this happen from May.

Currently, travel abroad from the UK is not allowed until 17 May at the earliest, beyond a small number of exceptions. This is subject to a review by the Department for Transport into whether to allow more travel at an earlier date.

Spain’s tourism minister Maria Reyes Maroto has outlined plans for a vaccine passport pilot which could pave the way for millions of Brits to holiday in the country. Maroto said Spain was eager to be a pioneer in introducing the immunity passports and confirmed her ministry was actively pursuing the idea.


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Tony Winterburn

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