UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his road map out of lockdown for England, with the intention that the UK will be free from all coronavirus lockdown restrictions by the 21st June 2021, and suggestions that international travel could be reintroduced from the UK as early as the 17th May. Based on this news, Britons have clamoured to book holidays to Spain in time for the summer season.
The UK’s travel companies, who have suffered considerably during the pandemic, were quick to respond to the news with their share prices rocketing and the number of holiday bookings they received increasing by a considerable amount. According to statistics released by EasyJet, demand for flights increased by 337%, whilst holiday package bookings increased by over an incredible 600%. Shares in the company were boosted as a result, rising by as much as 12% in London following the announcement.
Easyjet's CEO, Johan Lundgren said: “We have consistently seen that there is pent up demand for travel...This surge in bookings shows that this signal from the government that it plans to reopen travel has been what U.K. consumers have been waiting for.”
Britons Can’t Wait to Return to Spain
Spain remains one of Britain’s favourite holiday destinations, with flights and holidays to Malaga, Alicante and Palma in particularly high demand. The Prime Minister’s road map has been seen as a very positive indication that international travel will reopen to Britons by the time the summer holiday period is in full swing. This viewpoint was reinforced by Thomas Cook’s Chief Executive Alan French who said that: “The government's announcement today is good news for those of us desperate to get away on holiday...While we await more details, it's clear that the government's ambition is to open up international travel in the coming months and hopefully in time for the summer holidays.”
Not only is this good news for those Brits keen to get away, it is also good news for everyone working within Spain’s tourism industry. Much of the country’s economy is dependent on tourism, and this industry has been hit incredibly hard as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the dramatically reduced visitor numbers that it resulted in. Many hotels have been closed for extended periods of time, and restaurants and bars are also being negatively impacted as a result of the travel restrictions within the country, as well as the border closures imposed not only by the Spanish government but by other country’s international travel restrictions as well. For many companies within the travel sector, both in Britain and in Spain, summer 2021 is being viewed as make-or-break time. The hopes of hundreds of firms are hanging in a successful international summer holiday season.
Dates for Further Updates
Whilst the latest announcement has created a feeling of optimism amongst the travel sector and enthusiastic tourists keen to return to Spain, we will not receive a further announcement on when international travel for British residents can resume until 12th April. On the 12th April, domestic travel in the UK can resume: until this point, Britons will not be able to visit holiday parks or stay in hotels in their own country, so there will certainly not be any international travel before this point. More importantly, it is at this point that it is thought that a more thorough roadmap for the travel sector will be revealed, with international travel expected to resume by the 17th May at the earliest.
It is hoped that decisions about quarantine-free travel, vaccination passports, and any COVID-19 tests required to enable tourists to travel to Spain will also be announced on 12th April, enabling travel companies and businesses dependent on tourism to better plan for the summer ahead, and for tourists to book their holidays as soon as possible. The demand for breaks to Spain is bigger than ever: we’re just waiting for the official announcement that holidays can go ahead.
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